How do we reach our goals? Don’t give up!

“The hero’s of the world keep putting one foot in front of the other” unknown


I was thinking the other day of how hard it can be for me to just get out and walk.   My little gran-11ddaughter  enjoys it, and so do I,  but I don’t always do it as much as I should.  Walking more is one of my goals to be healthier.  I thought I would break it down.
Goals should be “SMART”.  This is an acronym which helps people better reach their goals.  Specific; Measurable; Acton-based;Realistic and Time-lined.  So it isn’t enough for me to say, “I am going to exercise more..

To be specific, I need to sort out what I will do.  So, back to walking.  We all know there are many benefits to moving more.   Knowing that I should  climb all stairs and take a walk every day isn’t always enough to make me do it.  The Department of Health and Human services latest (2008) activity guidelines  recommends that adults have 150 minutes each week of moderately intense aerobic activity.   Moderate intensity can be gauged by being able to talk while exercising, but not sing.   When I am on my elliptical I can talk,  I haven’t tried to sing.  I wonder if that would give me control of the remote. (note to self)

  • Specific:  I want to walk at least 30 minutes at a  moderately intense pace for at least 5 days a week
  • Measurable:  I need to be able to  know if  I have done what I have set out to do.   Ok, I am not pitching here, but I do love my “fitbit”, basically a fancy pedometer, because it tells me when I have reached 10,000 steps a day and reminds me when I don’t.  Many people can just say,  yes, I will take a brisk walk every day.  I need to be monitored more closely.  Sometimes I do feel like I am walking around with a GPS on me but maybe that’s what I need.
  • Attainable:   I am not going to make an unreachable goal.   I won’t run a 10 mile race this month, end of story.
  • Realistic:  What will I do when I get home in 0 degree weather and its dark out… will I still go out for  a walk?  That is why I use my indoor “elliptical” as a back-up.
  • Time-Lined:   I will do this for 1 month and reevaluate

That is the idea of the smart goals to me.  Remember this is a process.  I know, we hear this lot but I don’t think it can be repeated too many times.  We often get discouraged if the progress is slow or if we fall short of our expectations.  That’s when we can “give up” and fall back into bad habits.  That is expected.  Relapse is actually built into the process.  To me, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is really just like training your dog.  You constantly have to reinforce positive behaviors and know you may slip back into the old ones.  Don’t be hard on yourself.   Just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

-18Here is a  template for your own  SMART goals.  Try it out and let me know you do.  I will check back in a month. Thanks for reading.


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