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Following through on your resolutions

By Denise Elliot

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time Bound

How many of our resolutions are achieved rather than being put in the too hard basket. If you are still going strong after a few months, congratulations, well done! For others, ask yourself, were they SMART goals?

To support you in achieving your goal, ideally create a “Statement of Intent” that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound.

Goal: Lose weight

While “I am going to lose 5 kilos” may be SPECIFIC, you are not quite finished with the goal setting, because is it ATTAINABLE without an exercise program? A weight loss goal may not be REALISTIC or ATTAINABLE if you are sick or carrying an injury. However maintaining a degree of flexibility may make it ATTAINABLE, with a REALISTIC plan resulting.

Is it REALISTIC - yes if you do have 5 kilos to lose, but not if you are underweight and need support with a healthy body image. Our losses are not always best measured on the scales, however there does need to be a way to MEASURE, even if it is how your clothes fit. If you choose to weigh, make it the same time, ideally first thing in the morning. A slow and steady weight loss is more likely to stay away longer.

Is your goal TIME BOUND - If your goal seems far away, break it down into smaller ATTAINABLE steps. While it is important to bind your goal to a time (have a finish line) it can help to have one small steady step at a time.

What if you want to raise your level of energy and improve your eating choices. Ideally dietary changes should be slow and steady not involve huge dramatic changes overnight.

Goal: Increase my water intake

I am going to increase my water intake from 4 to 6 glasses of water a day - SPECIFIC AND TIME BOUND - I will do this by including an extra glass prior to my mid-morning and mid-afternoon cup of tea. This regularity will make it more REALISTIC as it will become a habit. It is ATTAINABLE with a time line of 3 weeks for this to be part of my routine.

Goal: Exercise regularly

I am going to walk four times a week for 40 minutes each time. This is not REALISTIC and probably not ATTAINABLE without building up to this slowly, and cutting it down to simpler steps, the TIME BOUND may take 3 months to achieve, dependent on your level of fitness at the start. It could be an event or marathon that sets your TIME BOUND date - and then work your training schedule back from that date.

Set your final goal and then create REALISTIC smaller goals to achieve the bigger picture. It is good to document your goals with each week itemized and ticked off as achieved. Maybe a small reward to keep that motivation going, we all move forward in life easier with praise.

At the end of the day BE KIND TO YOURSELF - and sometimes when you are confused and are unsure of a pathway, ask yourself about your choice. Asking whether it is SMART can sometimes help you make your decision.