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Wellness is often defined as the state of being healthy in body and mind. It is a process that we need to deliberately choose. To maintain it is important to set goals.
There are many components of wellness, including social, spiritual and financial. Here we’ll focus on physical wellness and suggest ideas for setting your own, personalized goals!
Setting SMART Goals:
When setting wellness goals, follow the SMART acronym guidelines.
Specific: Make your goals clear and easy to understand. Do you know why so many New Year’s resolutions fail? People make the mistake of saying “I want to get healthy,” rather than setting a specific goal. Try “I will stop eating junk food” instead.
Measurable: How will you track your progress? How will you know you have reached your goal? Add a number to your goal. Try “I will not eat junk food five days out of each week.”
Accountable: Write it down. Tell a friend. Share it with the world (on social media). We hate appearing inconsistent. So we’re more likely to maintain commitment to our goals when others are holding us accountable.
Realistic: Many goal-setters fail simply by setting their goals too high. A goal out of reach will cause you to quickly lose motivation. For this reason, goals such as “I will exercise seven days a week” are usually a bad idea. At the same time, a goal that’s too easy won’t challenge you enough.
Time-bound: Deadlines are incredibly motivational. Remember how much you could get done back in school when you knew you had an essay due the next morning? Include an end point to your goals, such as “I will lose seven percent of my body weight by the end of six months.”
Let’s talk about some of the areas of your life that could use some brand new SMART goals!
Nutrition & Hydration:
Most adults do not get their recommended amounts of produce. And this is an issue when fruits and vegetables are full of the vitamins and minerals that make you healthy and energized. Also, water helps control calories and keeps skin moisturized, among many other benefits.
Nutrition SMART goal: I will eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily for at least four days per week.
Hydration SMART goal: I will drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, five days per week.
Rest & Relaxation:
You already know that sleep is precious. It improves memory and prevents against illness, but most of us simply don’t get enough of it. And that’s not all. How many of you have built-in time for self-care into your schedule? Self-care activities can include anything that makes you happy, such as yoga, reading a book, laughing with friends or going on a nature walk. When you’re stressed these activities are usually the first to go – and that only makes things worse.
Rest SMART goal: I will get at least 7.5 hours of sleep five nights per week
Relaxation SMART goal: I will build 30 minutes of self-care time into my day at least five days per week.
Determining exercise goals is a highly personal task that depends on each person’s body type and health goals. Are you looking to lose weight? Gain muscle mass? Maintain your figure? Most experts recommend doing cardio exercise three to five times per week, for 20-60 minutes per session. In addition, they suggest at least two days per week focusing on strength training.
Exercise SMART goal: I will do cardiovascular activity, in the form of running or biking, for at least 30 minutes three times per week.
Even if you’re actively following your goals in each of the previous categories, you still need to schedule annual checkups. Doctors are able to spot issues early through preventative screenings and physical examinations. They also can keep an eye on any diseases or illnesses found in your family history.
Checkup SMART goal: I will visit my doctor, dentist, and optometrist at least once per year for a general checkup.
Take advantage of your competitive nature and strive to meet your weekly goals. This way, when you find yourself tempted by a bag of chips as an afternoon snack, it’ll be much easier for you to say “no, thank you” because you have a concrete goal written out for yourself to avoid junk food. Clear goals provide a framework that encourages better decision-making in stressful situations. So, in order to remain “realistic,” start by setting one SMART goal today!