SMART Goals: Simple healthy steps

SMART goals
To be successful in reaching a health-related goal, it is important to set an appropriate goal and establish a plan or road map on how to get to where you want to be. — Photo by

By Valerie Greene
Stuttgart Army Wellness Center

Every year is the same: you step on the scale or look in the mirror and say to yourself in a determined voice, “This year I am going to lose 15 pounds … or get that six pack … or run a marathon … or do a headstand in yoga … or dead lift 225 lbs.”

You plant your fantastic new goal in cement in your head. After the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, you make a promise to yourself to be one of the first people at the gym bright and early. You set the alarm and wake up with a bounce, excited to start the day at the gym. This time of the morning is new and feels refreshing, filling the new you with joy. You actually woke up that day with a bit of pep in your step. “This is easy” you say, “5 a.m. feels like nothing, let’s do this.”

This feeling tends to last for about a week or so, then the determination and voice of encouragement fades and is replaced by the voice of the couch calling you home. That’s when the excuses set in: You don’t have time … the kids have practice … it’s not important. Every excuse you can list floods your mind, keeping you from setting that alarm for the morning or continuously pressing snooze.

Setting goals is easy but achieving them isn’t.

That’s why setting SMART goals — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound – is the first step to making your goal a reality.

What are SMART goals?

Identify who, what, where, when and how. Be as detailed as possible.

Measurable: Quantify your goal. This allows you to measure your success from where you started.

Attainable: This puts the control back in your hands. Move toward your goal in small steps instead of giant leaps.

Is this a realistic or attainable goal? If not, simply re-adjust.

Time-bound: Establish a set timeline. You will need a start date and end date.

Establish a vision of where you want to be in a year and break it down into three-month increments. From there, create weekly goals.

An example for a three-month goal might be to walk 12,000 steps a day, five times a week. Break this into attainable weekly goals, such as adding 1,000 steps to each walk every week.

Identify why this goal is so important to you. The stronger the reason a goal is important, the easier it is to make the next step.

Physically writing down goals will help you see the goal to completion. Try writing them on a note card or taping them on your bathroom mirror as a reminder to the commitment you have made to yourself. Also, share your goals with others so you have a support system and someone to help hold you accountable.

If you need help setting and keeping your goals or even need a place to start, visit the Stuttgart Army Wellness for consultation, assessment and testing.

The wellness center’s fitness consultation can help you assess your fitness program and set realistic goals.

With a fitness assessment, oxygen consumption is measured during exercise to assess your degree of cardiovascular fitness. Muscular strength, body composition and flexibility tests complete a comprehensive fitness assessment.

Metabolic testing will measure your resting metabolic rate, which is used to calculate a calorie range for weight loss, weight maintenance, or even weight gain.

For more information or to make an appointment, call the Stuttgart Army Wellness Center at 590-1601/civ. 06371-9464-1601, or stop by Building 2337, Patch Barracks.