Many of us begin our New Year with great resolve. We promise ourselves that we are going to take on healthier habits so that when we get to our annual workplace health screening, we can feel confident the results will mirror our hard work. How many of you set yourselves up to fall short of those goals by failing to structure your efforts accordingly.

Many of you in a business environment will have heard of SMART goals, but it is not only the business environment that they can be applied to. If you are serious about your health then a SMART approach to your goals can really improve your chances of success.

What are SMART goals?

SPECIFIC – There is a difference between saying ‘I need to lose weight or I want to get fit’ to ‘My goal is to lose 10kgs to relieve back pain ‘ or ‘ I will run a 5km race in June’. The latter details the goal to be achieved in detail

MEASURABLE – How will you know that those goals are being achieved? For example, ask your friend/ personal trainer to weigh you every two weeks, estimate and record your back pain on a scale of 1-10 or use some of the wearable tech or apps available to record your gym attendance. Adding these small steps to your ultimate goal by measuring your progress creates mini goals and attainments along the way that cements your motivation towards your ultimate objective.

ATTAINABLE – Make sure that the goal you have chosen isn’t unrealistic, there is no surer way to set yourself up to fail than choosing an objective that is ultimately impossible. You need to weigh the effort, time and other costs to your goal against other obligations and priorities you have in your life.

RELEVANT – Is reaching your goal relevant to you? What is the larger objective behind it? Why do you want to reach this goal and will it achieve your wider longer-term objective? These are questions that you need to ask, be honest with yourself.

TIME-BASED – Deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. So, set yourself one! Keep it realistic and flexible within reason. Being too stringent with your deadline can make it a hateful race against time and can lead to extreme behaviour.

Formulate your goals positively, bringing clarity to your plans and enthusiasm to your actions. GOOD LUCK!

If you want a little more detail on setting your SMART goals take a look at http://www.smart-goals-guide.com