Setting Smart Goals

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By Heather Reichert, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian & Team Beachbody Coach


As we face each new year, we can’t help but think about all of the things that we would like to accomplish. January presents itself as an ideal opportunity to start fresh. I always find that it is the time of year that I adopt the old adage “Out with the old and in with the new”. It is a time for purging the unnecessary excess in our lives. For some people that excess is the stuff that clutters their homes. For others, the excess is the stuff that “clutters” their bodies. The stuff that does not allow them to be the people that they want to be, move the way they want to move, do the things they want to do… The stuff that is literally robbing them of their lives.

It never fails. January 1st is the un-official “Diet Day” of the year. The day when all of the resolutions begin, fitness clubs increase enrollment and diet foods fly off the shelves. Only 25% of these resolutions survive past the first week of the New Year. I don’t think that this happens because people want to give up or that they are lazy. I think this most oftentimes happens because they don’t have well defined goals for the year. It’s kind of like setting out on a trip to New York without a map, GPS or even a compass. If you don’t plan out how to get there and utilize tools available to you, it is unlikely that you will reach your destination (at least not without wrong turns along the way).

To increase the likelihood of reaching goals (a.k.a. your destination), I use the phrase “Always set SMART goals.” SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. I often see clients write down “Lose weight” or “Get healthier” as goals. The problem with these goals is that they are not specific. How much weight? What does healthier mean? The goal of “get healthier” is also not a measureable goal. Healthy means something different to every person. How do we quantify it? The biggest mistake that I see made with goal setting is that the person does not set achievable or realistic goals. They focus more on the end result instead of the actions that will get them there. Walking 45 minutes a day would not be an achievable or realistic goal for someone needing both of their knees replaced. Neither is setting a goal of working out 2 hours a day… every day. While that might be achievable, it certainly is not realistic for the majority of people. The last component of setting SMART goals is making sure that they are timed. If your boss came in and handed you a project to be completed, they would probably not just tell you to get it done whenever, but rather give you a deadline for its completion. This would insure that you would focus your efforts on the task and get it done in a timely manner. When you put all of these components together, goals become more manageable and attainable.

Lastly, focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t. If walking is not an option for you because you have severe knee or foot pain (and you don’t have access to a pool), then utilize the other half of your body and work your arms, shoulders, back and abs. It is amazing what you can do to get your heart rate up even if you are only using your upper body. For instance, you can sit in a chair with a straight back and move your arms like you are jumping rope. Do it as fast and as controlled as possible. Hello, heart!

This year, I have challenged 20 participants to battle the bulge DURING the holidays. They each signed up for a 30-day fitness challenge which involves using a Beachbody® program, Shakeology®, meal planning tools and accountability. They each set SMART goals and I have been witness to them achieving their goals in a very methodical and planned manner. And this is all happening over the holidays! Imagine what the new year will hold for them! You can put yourself to the challenge, too! Decide that you are worth it! Believe that you can do it! Now, get out that pen and paper and set your goals for your new journey!

If you would like more information about my “30-day Challenge” or Beachbody products, contact me!

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