Setting Healthy Goals for the New Year
Happy New Year! With the new year often comes the desire to make new goals and changes in our lives. But it’s not just the new year that means goal setting. Healthy goals can be set for you and your family year round. Keep reading to learn all about how to set goals for you and your family that can actually be achieved!
Often when we set goals, they end up being too general, broad, or vague. This can cause our goals to seem too daunting to even get started or make it hard to follow through with them. By breaking goals down into smaller and more realistic pieces, we are more likely to be successful. One strategy to create meaningful goals is to set SMART goals - this technique is a great way to ensure that goals are achievable and realistic.
What are SMART goals? It is an acronym outlining how to make goals clear and reachable. It stands for:
When setting your goal, make sure it is clearly stated. This will help to make it successful! Think about the how, what, why, when and where of the goal. An example of a broad, nonspecific goal would be: “Our family will eat more vegetables.” Instead, try picking something more specific such as: “Our family will enjoy vegetables with dinner each night.”
By making a goal measurable, this will help us to understand when we have achieved it! Measurable goals help us keep track of the goal, keep you and your family motivated and set you up for success. Think about ‘how much’ or ‘how many’ when deciding on a measurable goal. For example, “Our family will enjoy two servings of vegetables with dinner each night.”
If our goals aren’t something that can be achieved, then we are setting ourselves up for failure from the beginning! When creating a goal, consider the ways that you and your family could achieve the goal. Ask yourself how realistic is this goal, considering other factors?
Keep goals within your realm of control. If external factors have the biggest impact on the outcome of the goal, then it likely isn’t achievable.
Is the goal worthwhile and something that you and your family actually wants to do? Setting goals because you might feel expectations from others will not be as successful as if is something that is relevant to you. When coming up with an idea for a goal, think about whether or not the goal meets you and your family’s needs.
Setting a time frame for the goal ensures there is a deadline and something to work towards. Without a time frame, goals can be pushed aside and forgotten in lieu of day to day tasks. They become “some day” goals that might never be put into action.
Assigning a deadline can also help to keep accountability. Sometimes setting a small goal with a short timeline (such as two weeks) can be easier to get started with, rather than a long term goal over the course of an entire year. To use our previous example, we could say “Our family will enjoy two servings of vegetables with dinner each night for the month of January.” After the month is over, consider if the goal has been achieved and work on creating a new goal.
Other SMART Tips & Tricks
Change can take time! Setting too many goals at once can be overwhelming for you and your family. Instead, taking it one goal at a time often ends up being more successful in the long run.
Set goals together as a family. Invite everyone to have input in the goal-setting process. Grab some fun supplies like paper, markers, and crayons and turn it into a fun activity for the whole family! Writing goals down can increase the likelihood that they will be achieved.
Remember that January isn’t the only time for goal setting. Healthy goals can be created year-round!
We hope these tips and tricks have inspired you to set some goals of your own. Good luck and happy goal setting!
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