A Practical Guide To Healthy Living
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It Doesn’t Have to Be Epic

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We are on the verge of the new year, Sweeties. The holiday merriment has been going on for weeks, we’re ready for resolve, right? I am SO for the cleaning up of acts, of goals, of seeking triumph over diet and exercise “demons,” etc. but I’m going to put on my coaching hat right now and admonish you to

EXERCISE CAUTION


What the heck am I talking about? Well, sweeping changes are dramatic. They pump you up and make you feel thrilled when you think about them, right? “I will finally lose 20 lbs. this year!” “I will be in the best shape of my life!” “I will kick chips to the curb!” “I will cut sugar from my diet!” “No more white food in 2014!” Any of this sound remotely familiar? I think at one point or another, we’ve all vowed for sweeping change, and we have all failed. And that, my friends, is the rub. Epic doesn’t pan out, most of the time. And as someone who’s LIVED epic change, I can assure you, most of the time, it’s OVERRATED.

What’s gonna get you there this year? Think small, consistent and sustainable. Nope. It’s not sexy, it’s SMART. And as I’ve learned in my life, sexy doesn’t get you very far, but SMART wins the day.

What are SMART goals? They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive.

Specific: When it comes to goals, vague’s the enemy. Specificity sets forth actions and empowers you to achieve your goals. It helps you establish priorities, manage time. Specificity locks an image in your mind, and when you can see something clearly, you are MUCH more likely to attain it.

Measurable: By hours, pounds, inches or bunches, you need to be able to see exactly how you’re measuring up against your goals.

Attainable: It’s imperative that you set big goals that make your heart race, but it is also crucial to make sure that they are attainable. 10 lbs. in 2 weeks is not attainable. 1 lb. per week for the next 4 weeks is an attainable goal . . . that can help you reach that 20 lb. goal, slowly but surely.

Realistic: Be honest with yourself. Can you REALLY attain this? Look back on your past goals and resolutions . . . which ones did you stick with and why? Which did you abandon and why? If you can’t cook and don’t have time to shop for food, are you honestly going to prep all your meals at home in the month of January? Probably not. Shoot for 2 meals per week. Set yourself up for success, not failure.

Time-Bound: Good goals have deadlines. Think of a work- or school-related goal: You start working on it because you know there’s a due date. You continue to work on it because you don’t want to get behind. As the deadline approaches, you keep up your work because you don’t want to miss your deadline. This is your personal assignment. Set a deadline. Meet the deadline. Get an A.

Here’s your homework. Think on this as you go about your business in the next 24 hours, then set aside 30 minutes for yourself to draft a mission statement for yourself. Then break it down into SMART goals. What’re you going to do in the next week? Month? 6 months? Year? How will you know you’ve gotten there? What are you going to do to achieve the results you seek (hint: CELEBRATE with something goooood)? After you’ve done that, make it look pretty. And keep it with you. Pin it up. Fold another copy in your pocket. Stash one in your bedside drawer. Keep referring to it to remind you what you’re doing. When faced with that bag of chips in the pantry/the snooze button/candy in the checkout aisle at the grocery, wheel out your SMART goals and ask yourself: “Does this get me closer to my goals?” If not, then STOP.

Every day: New day, same goals. Lather, rinse, repeat. Small steps in a long journey are the only thing that’ll surely get you there.

And if you need help? I’m here! Join the newbies who’re signing on for 2014 now. Current clients of my Thrive Guide coaching are getting results and you can too . . . my accountability and support tools and services are KEY for success in meeting your goals. ThriveGuide at Yahoo dot com is the hotline to Sarah!

 

© 2013, Sarah. All rights reserved.

  • Kristin Novotny

    SMART goals are so important!

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      Indeed, Kristin! Have you set any goals for the new year?

  • kia_r

    SMART is a key acronym that we need to be reminded of at this time of year.

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      Good point, Kia!

  • Sarah Scott

    Love this post, I love how its worded, I think too many people want all or nothing in January that’s when it all goes wrong.
    Good luck for 2014

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      Aw, thanks so much Sarah! And yes, of course we all want it all . . . it’s natural, but yes, we need to take it sloooow – step by step! Happy 2014 to you!

  • Monica Young

    Thanks for the remainder about the SMART goals. Good luck in 2014

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      Good luck to you, too, Monica! Thanks for stopping by.

  • Katie

    YES!!! Epic Changes can lead to some major Epic Fails!!! I love goals that are attainable and measurable!

    Love this!

    Have a great new year!

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      Yup, and I try to avoid epic fails if at all possible! ;) Happy new year, Katie!

  • Lydia R

    I love SMART goals. I’m detail-oriented, and they help me stay focused!

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      It’s so easy to get distracted, especially when the final goal is a big one, right? Focus is KEY. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Pamdemonium2

    Awesome advice!!! Small goals help with successes that will continue to push you towards your long term goal!!

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      That’s right! I do much better, personally, with baby steps . . . plus, more to celebrate along the way and I LOVE to celebrate!

  • shecat07

    Love your writing style and words! So beautiful!!! Also, what great advice! I haven’t been able to “see” my 2014 goals yet…I just feel like I’m in limbo, but your method really helped me to begin to focus. I’m sure I’ll be back…oh, and thanks for the homework!

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      Thanks so much, shecat! And so glad this helped you focus power . . . come back and let me know how you’re doing . . . now, get after that homework!

  • Joelyn Morgan

    I am a health/wellness/nutrition coach and love this – I use it all the time with my clients!! Great to have you blogging!!

    • http://www.semisweetonline.com/ Semi-Sweet Sarah

      Thanks for reading, Joelyn!