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The new year brings with it the opportunity to start anew. And never did we all need that more than with the end of 2020! Even as uncertainty over Covid continues to loom, we can move forward towards goals of improving our health and happiness. But, as anyone who’s ever attempted to quit smoking knows, some goals are easier to attain than others. 

Let’s look at the keys to establishing goals for the new year that are still going strong by next year using the popular SMART goal method. SMART is an acronym that helps us to create goals for success.

  • Specific – By establishing exactly what we want to accomplish, there is a much better chance of successfully completing it. So instead of “I am going to walk more often”, frame the goal with details, such as precisely when you will walk and for how long.
  • Measurable – How will we know if we’ve met our goal if we can’t measure success? Rather than a generic goal like “I am going to eat less sugary foods”, give the goal some numbers to guide you such as, “I am only going to eat a sugary food 3 times a week”.
  • Attainable – Nothing is more deflating than realizing you have set a goal that is impossible to meet. Often this happens when the goal was too big to begin with. Even if your ultimate goal is a big one, like quitting smoking permanently, start with a smaller goal such as not smoking for a day or a week. You can always set a new goal once that first one has been achieved!
  • Relevant – Is the goal going to be worth the time and energy you have to put into it? Is this the right time to work towards that goal? In this time of Covid, a goal of “Meet new people” may not be appropriate. Or if you just had hip surgery, hold off on that goal of walking 5 times a week.
  • Time-bound – To keep yourself motivated, it is important to include a deadline or some other measurement of time. Be generous and forgiving. If your goal is an all-or-nothing like “Quit smoking forever”, you are much more likely to feel defeated and give up completely if you slip up. Leaving room for error and grace helps you to recognize that mistakes are part of the journey, not the end of it!

A goal that results in better health is always a good goal. We at Burlington Health Care are committed to you and your health; in 2021 and years to come!