Spring is in the air, creating a new energy in many of us to get active and eat right. You might want to rush into an extreme diet and exercise plan, but research shows that setting SMART goals can lead to lasting changes that can impact your life for the long-term.
Choosing a SMART Goal
- Think about a specific goal you would like to set. This could be losing weight, exercising more, or eating more vegetables.
- Make sure the goal is measurable. You will want to choose a number that you can visit periodically to measure your progress. This could be 2 pounds per month, walking 30 minutes each day 5 days a week, or eating 3 new vegetables per week.
- Next it will be important to make sure your goal is attainable. You will want to ask, can I really set aside 30 minutes 5 days a week or would 3 days a week be more likely?
- Assess your goal and make sure it is realistic for you. Are you both willing and able to work towards your goal?
- Finally, set a time frame to accomplish your goal. You can then revaluate yourself and progress towards your goal along the way or at the end of the time frame.
Ideas for Nutrition and Exercise
- Improve your eating by adding a few new fruits and vegetables to your diet. Try to eat fruits or vegetables from every color group each day.
- Increase your whole grain consumption so that at least half of your grains are whole. Whole grain pasta and brown rice are easy substitutes.
- Choose lean proteins to reduce the amount of fat you are consuming. This could include 93% lean ground beef, skinless chicken, or just trimming the fat off of your steaks. Don’t forget to include plant protein sources! Beans, lentils, nuts, and soy are great options.
- Thinking about adding exercise to your routine? The recommended amount is 30 minutes, 5 times per week or about 150 minutes per week.
- Mixing both aerobic and strength training exercise is a great idea. Some new activities to try this year could be yoga, Zumba, biking, or just walking.
- Ask friends to join you or make a date to meet them to keep you accountable. This may make it more enjoyable as well! If it has been a challenge to get out in the cold weather, a gym membership may be a great option for you.
Remember to set small goals! You may be more successful in accomplishing your goals if you set multiple goals to work towards a larger goal. Once you set a goals, make sure to write it down and share it! Often times this will help you keep working towards your goal and increase your success.