By Clara Wicoff, Nutrition, Food and Health Agent
With 2022 on the horizon, you may be thinking about setting goals for the new year. However, research indicates that most Americans fail to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. So, how can you set yourself up for success? Be SMART about your goals for 2022 by setting set goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-framed.
Specific goals include exactly what you want to achieve. For example, “I will make half my grains whole grains” is a more specific goal than “I will eat healthier.” This sample goal also has the added benefit of aligning with MyPlate recommendations!
Measurable goals state how you will determine your success. To make your goals measurable, ask yourself: How will I know if my goal has been achieved? Let’s say you want to be more active in the upcoming year. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days per week. This includes activities such as bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn with a push mower, and even gardening and weeding! “I will do muscle-strengthening activities on two days each week” is an example of a measurable goal which aligns with this physical activity recommendation.
It is also crucial to make your goals achievable. Achievable goals are realistic for you personally. Take into consideration all internal and external factors, including your skills, resources, and time. When making health-related goals, recognize that small steps add up over time. If completing moderate-intensity physical activity for 150 minutes each week (as recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans) isn’t realistically achievable for you right now, then start smaller and set a goal which you can accomplish!
Next, make your goals relevant. Setting goals which match what really matters to you will increase your motivation to achieve them. If you have children and enjoy cooking, one example of a relevant goal may be to cook a meal together at least once each week.
Finally, your goals should be time-framed. Creating a timeline or setting a deadline encourages you to stay on track. “I will increase my physical activity by participating in Walk Kansas from March to May in 2022” is just one example of a time-framed goal!
SMART goals are a well-established tool which can be used to help you set and achieve objectives. As an extension agent, I seek to provide research-based educational programs which help people improve their lives, livelihoods, businesses, and communities. These programs, as well as those provided by my fellow agents, may help you achieve your SMART goals! To learn more about the programs we offer or to get more information about setting SMART goals, contact me at [email protected] or by calling 620-365-2242.