Bottom Line: A new year has come again, and that means it's time to revisit and renew your goals for better health! There’s no better time to evaluate your health, assess your wellness, and to start making healthy changes than now. Goal setting may not be the easiest thing to do but setting SMART goals can set you up for long-term success.

Why it Matters: SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Trackable. Using SMART goals makes it much more likely you’ll reach your target, which also helps keep your motivation high. There are a million things that increase your stress levels, setting health goals shouldn't be one of them. Remember, each action you take towards better health is a positive step in the right direction and using the SMART framework can help you stay calm and focused. As I always say, even tiny, baby steps are still steps! Set aside a few minutes right now and use our handy how to set SMART health goals outline below to get started:

  • Be Specific. Exercising more or eating better are good ideas but nearly impossible to quantify. Aim for specific goals like exercising daily for 30 minutes or eating less than 25 grams of sugar each day. May seem hard but Dr. Sam uses an App to help her track all this.

  • Make it Measurable. Set a measurable goal like exercising 5x per week for 20 minutes.

  • Make it Attainable. Avoid aiming too high or too low. Your health goals should be attainable relative to your current commitments and habits. Example: If you are new to running, start with a couch to 5k running program instead of aiming for a marathon your first time.

  • Be Realistic. Determine what changes you can realistically and reasonably commit to when considering your current health habits. For example, I say every year this is the year I am going to run a 5k start to finish, however I HATE running long distances, hate it..never liked it so I know this goal isn't for me, I keep saying I am going to do it but I know won't. So instead this year, I am going to walk a 5k with my dogs but that is more realistic!

  • Make it Trackable. This is key. Goals that are trackable help you monitor your progress throughout the year and let you know when it’s time to celebrate your successes!

Next Steps: Don’t let your new year's resolutions go unfulfilled. Remember, by setting SMART goals, you'll be able to jumpstart your journey to better health. And if you’re near Chicago and you’ve been living with chronic pain or learning to live with a new injury, schedule a visit with us today.

We're here to accomplish your health goals for 2022 and beyond, and that starts with getting you off the sidelines and back in the game!

Science Source(s): Setting Smart Goals for Success. Mayo Clinic Health System. 2020.