Notebook on table saying Setting Healthy Goals

Setting Healthy Goals For The New Year

Are you ready to start setting healthy goals in the new year?

Healthy goal setting is a process that involves knowing what you want, determining how to get it, and developing a plan to guide and motivate you toward achieving it. Setting healthy goals is a powerful skill that anyone can learn.

It begins with knowing where you are and where you want to go and extends through doing the research and collecting the data that ensures success.

You may have heard of SMART goals, but the process that works best takes it a bit further and is called SMARTER goal setting. When you implement this process when setting healthy goals, you’ll be more likely to achieve them.

This method ensures your desires are grounded in reality and includes the exact steps that will get you what you want.

New years healthy goals

Setting Healthy Goals Using SMARTER Goal Setting

The healthy goal-setting process using the SMARTER way is an acronym that stands for the following:

  • Specific – Being very specific in the goal you want to achieve.
  • Measurable – Knowing how you will prove you are making progress.
  • Attainable – Ensuring you can accomplish your goal within the timeframe you set.
  • Relevant – Making sure your goal aligns with your life goals and values.
  • Time-Bound – Setting a realistic deadline to achieve the goal.
  • Evaluate – Regularly evaluating your goals and progress throughout the process.
  • Readjust and Reward – Stepping back and readjusting either the process or goal as needed. Rewarding yourself for a job well done once you reach your goal.

This acronym ensures you acknowledge every aspect of reality as you plan your life. Using the SMARTER goal process for setting healthy goals for living a healthier life makes total sense.

Once you go through the process, you’ll have a clear plan translated into daily actions that will result in success.

Coffee next to a napkin with smarter goals written on it

The SMARTER Process to Setting Healthy Goals

To be successful in setting SMARTER goals for a healthy life, follow these steps:

  • Know What You Want – Sometimes, you need to dig deep to figure out what you really want from your life. For example, you can say, “I want to be healthy,”. But if you can’t define what being healthy means to you, it’s hard to figure out how to obtain it. So, narrow down exactly what it is you want.
  • Know Where You Are – As you set goals, it’s imperative not to make them so hard they aren’t achievable. For example, if you want to lose 100 pounds, it may not happen in a year. And it most definitely will not happen in a few weeks. Or if you want to run a marathon but have been a couch potato for a while, it’s going to take longer to reach your goal than someone who has been active for years.
  • Prioritize Your Wants and Needs – You may have to tackle a needed healthy goal, such as getting the right nutrition before you can start on a wanted goal like building muscle.
  • Develop a Supportive Environment – The people you surround yourself with are critical to your success. Being around folks who want you to succeed, and who will hold you to your own stated values and desires are the right people to be near you if you’re going to achieve your healthy goals.
  • Know The Benefits of Achievement – Sometimes, it’s hard to grasp the benefits of a goal that you think you want, especially if it will take some time to achieve. Writing down all the benefits of achievement will help you keep going on tough days.
  • Understand The Skills or Resources You Need to Succeed – As you design healthy goals based on your wants and needs, you may discover that you’re missing an important skill set to accomplish the goal. You don’t need to quit; you just need to learn or buy the skillset.  
  • Ensure Goals Meet the SMARTER Goal Paradigm – Don’t just guess if you’re using this process. Take the time to describe and record everything so that you have a real plan.
  • Get Your Plan in Your Schedule and Implement Your Plan – Planning isn’t enough, you actual have to put the plan into action to succeed. Include everything in your schedule. Whether it’s spending five minutes doing breathing exercises or thirty minutes walking, it won’t happen if you don’t block out the time.
Smarter goal action steps graphic

Finally, make sure you reward your efforts. Even if you come short of some of your healthy goals, but still achieve a lot in the meantime, you deserve a reward.

Whether your goal is to run the Boston Marathon, lose ten pounds, or write the next bestseller, developing SMARTER goals will help. If you follow the plan created based on facts, there is no reason you won’t succeed.

Setting Healthy Goals: Focusing on Habits Overcomes Poor Willpower

Often folks describe their failure to reach healthy goals as a lack of willpower. However, willpower is really just another word for self-control. Self-control is simply your ability to act the way you want to in the situations you find yourself.

Most people only succeed in acting the way they want if they have a plan in place and practice doing it. The following tips talk about how focusing on your habits can help you overcome a lack of willpower. Let’s get started.

Understand Why

Most people want to force themselves to do things without even knowing why. For example, they may want to start exercising every day just because everyone is doing it, or someone made a cruel comment about their weight.

They don’t care or want to take the time to learn about the actual benefits of exercising or how it will improve their life.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. Before you can develop a new habit, you need to understand the benefits of setting this new habit.

You have to convince yourself, with research, that it’s the correct action to take and that you need to do it because the evidence says so.

What's your why

Use Proof for Turning Healthy Goals into Habits

For example, let’s say you’ve measured your daily water intake and found you’re short a few glasses per day because you drink too much soda.

Your research shows that drinking all that soda increases your risk of obesity and all the diseases that go with it, plus you’ve noticed you are feeling tired a lot.

Additionally, the science on drinking water shows you that drinking enough will improve your digestion, increase your energy level, and help you avoid brain fog.

Once you know that you need to drink enough fresh filtered water to have a chance to accomplish your healthy goals, it makes it easier to plan how you’ll increase your water intake each day.

It will also keep you motivated so you’ll soon be consuming more water without even thinking about it.

create habits

Make it a Habit

If you want to have more self-control, it helps if you develop good habits and systems that you know work instead of just expecting yourself to do what needs to be done.

Developing habits and systems cause you to ritualize your days and nights so that the healthy goals you plan become just another habit.

The key to setting new habits is to repeatedly do the thing you want to become a habit. To break it down further, you have set cues or triggers that make you want to do the action.

This might be setting reminders to drink a glass of water after you complete each task at work. It might be having visuals that help remind you of your goal such as a photo of you when you were in great shape or 20 pounds lighter.

You also have to reward yourself along the way. These must be desirable or impactful enough to keep you motivated and pushing for your goal.

So, take the time to not only think about the habit but the cues or triggers you can put in place along with small meaningful rewards to help you along the way.

reward yourself on napkin

Ritualize It

Instead of waiting for the willpower to drink the water, set up times throughout the day that you’ll drink a measured amount. Do this for the next thirty days whether you want to or not. Again, it’s all about repetitions.

The more you do it and the more often you do it, the sooner it will become a habit.

Include things that make it pleasurable too. For example, if you normally enjoy a big glass of iced tea after dinner while watching television take the time to prepare your glass of water to make it special.

Buy a special cup that makes you feel good, purchase your favorite kind of ice (crushed, cubes, chips?) if you don’t have the ability to make it at home.

Add a squeeze of lemon or other fruit and vegetables (strawberry + lemon + basil is great as is cucumber + orange). Sip it as if it’s the best drink you’ve ever had.

The human mind makes it easy to form a bad habit as it does to form a good habit. You can create these habits and rituals by looking at the data to see what works for most folks. These habits take over where your healthy goals left off.

Implement that idea into your life for at least 30 days, then evaluate and tweak it to improve it for your own needs and expected results. Once you do this, you won’t need to rely on willpower because you’ll have gained a new habit.

You’ll automatically do it today because you did it yesterday.

Fruit flavored water

Three Healthy Goals Will Change Your Life

Choosing to change your life by creating and working to reach your healthy goals is important to live a happier and healthier life.

But sometimes, the idea of working on building a healthier life can feel overwhelming and like it’s just too much and too impossible to do. The good news is that you don’t really have to do everything to change your life.

Instead, just developing three healthy goals will change everything for you and rub off in all areas of your life.

The three healthy goals that will change your life are your fitness level, mental health, and diet. So, if you want to make a big change, focusing on these three things will make all the difference.

Women running

Getting Physically Fit

To truly be physically fit, you need to develop your cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and maintain a healthy body composition of the right amount of fat, muscle, bone mass, and flexibility for your particular body type.

Being physically fit will help you get through life with a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and a whole host of other mostly preventable health issues.

Plus, if you only have the minimum fitness level, you will avoid further problems caused by poor health, including mental and physical issues.

The best way to check your physical fitness level is to talk to your doctor and ask for an assessment of your physical fitness. But, again, you’re not shooting for being a professional athlete but just enough fitness to be considered healthy.

Remember, athletes sometimes overdo it and, due to that, suffer problems associated with overexercising, so this is not about that. It’s about doing just enough to be healthy.

Woman doing yoga

Minding Your Mental Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing is far more important than most people realize. If you are suffering from trauma, your health and happiness will be affected negatively even if you don’t remember it.

Take time to become more mindful about your thoughts, feelings, and actions based on them. The more you explore what makes you who you are, who you want to be, and how to be that person, the healthier you’ll become mentally.

Don’t mistake the idea that someone who is mentally healthy is always being happy and healthy. This is not true.

Being mentally healthy means that you are resilient and know how to overcome obstacles as they come. It also means that you act with thought instead of just allowing the first thing that comes to your mind to be your reaction.

Every person can benefit from working on their mental health by taking time every day to be mindful and focusing on gratitude while also improving any issues you may have by not avoiding getting mental health care if needed.

For example, if you have a broken foot, you will not expect to run a marathon. If you have undiscovered past trauma, your brain may need professional assistance getting back to normal.

Setting healthy goals on a ripped sheet

Eating Right

There are so many different thoughts about diet that discussing eating right can be sketchy and violate. Everyone has their opinion.

However, the truth is, scientifically, all humans need to be healthy, eat a wide variety of plants in their most natural and unprocessed state and consume the right number of calories to ensure optimal nutrition.

Your body knows how to get the nutrients from your food. But so much of the human diet is not really food. It’s just processed junk.

Depending on your thoughts and feelings about your diet, just go by the numbers. If your blood serum levels don’t show a deficiency, and all the other tests are normal or optimal, and you are healthy and have good fitness, you’re likely doing well with your diet.

If something is missing, you need to figure out how to get that from your diet instead of from pills and supplements if possible. This is where setting healthy goals come into play.

However, taking a good multivitamin and some supplements like Vitamins D3 and B12, if needed, can help people who cannot access locally grown plants that are higher in nutrients.

The really fabulous news about these three healthy goals is that you don’t have to be perfect. You can treat yourself sometimes and still be healthy.

You can skip a workout and still maintain your fitness. Just do what’s right according to the data most of the time, and it’ll pay off, and that will change your life more than you think.

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