To initiate lifestyle changes and measure your progress, it can be useful to set specific goals. Whether you want to become more diligent about taking your medication or include more vegetables in your daily diet, the S.M.A.R.T method can help you set your goals.
The S.M.A.R.T method
The S.M.A.R.T. method is a good guide to effective change. Make sure your goals have the following five characteristics:
The goal must be precise to be motivating and incorporated into your life.
You must be able to quantify and measure your progress, by specifying the frequency and duration, for example.
For a goal to be motivating, it must be attainable through concrete measures that match your abilities and tastes.
Your goal must be consistent with your reality, your schedule and your limitations. You must feel able to achieve it in your current situation.
A goal will not be effective or measurable if it is not defined by time. Set a precise time limit. You can even set the date you will be ready to begin.
Some example of S.M.A.R.T. goals
« I will eat one serving of vegetables as a snack when I get home from work every weekday for 1 month, starting tomorrow ».
« I will walk 20 minutes in my neighbourhood at least 3 evenings per week. I will write the sessions into my agenda so that they are scheduled activities ».
« I will register for a session of 6 yoga classes that start next month at a nearby studio, to help me manage my stress levels ».
« I will take my 3 pills at the prescribed times for 4 weeks, starting on Monday. I will set an alarm to remind me to take them ».
The professionals in your healthcare team, such as a dietitian or kinesiologist, can help you set your goals and give you personalized advice.