Developing a SMART goal can help create healthy habits

Every day, we hear ad­vice on changes we need to make to be our health­i­est. We know we should in­crease our ve­get­able in­take and de­crease our con­sump­tion of ad­ded sug­ars. But how do we go about mak­ing these changes and hav­ing them last?

De­vel­op­ing a SMART goal is the first step in cre­at­ing healthy habits. SMART goals are goals that are spe­cif­ic, meas­ur­able, ac­tion­able, real­ist­ic and time bound. See be­low for steps on how to cre­ate your own SMART goals.

1. Come up with your goal. What is it that you want to ac­com­plish? Be spe­cif­ic about your goal. “Eat health­i­er” is not spe­cif­ic enough. “Have ve­get­ables at din­ner every night” is bet­ter.

2. Have your goals be meas­ur­able. This al­lows you to track how you are do­ing. “Lose 1-2 pounds per week” al­lows you to see where you are at with your goal at the end of each week.

3. All goals should use ac­tion verbs. Say­ing you want to “be health­i­er” is not a SMART goal. “Lim­it dessert to 1 night per week.”

4. Make sure your goals are real­ist­ic. Los­ing 100 pounds is un­real­ist­ic. However, los­ing five pounds a month is much more doable. The more real­ist­ic your goals, the more likely you will achieve them.

5. Lastly, your goal should be time bound. Each goal should have a time frame of which you would like to achieve it or how of­ten you would like to do it.

Re­mem­ber to stay pos­it­ive about your goal, fre­quently read over your goal and con­grat­u­late your­self along the way. ••

Kirsten Diegel is a re­gistered di­eti­tian and li­censed nu­tri­tion­ist who works as a clin­ic­al di­eti­tian for Wes­ley En­hanced Liv­ing.

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