What are some smart health goals examples?
How do you set smart goals for fitness and wellness?
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Where do you even start when setting weight lose, nutrition, or just simply good health goals?
Okay, I will be the first to admit that despite knowing the definition of healthy, my mind immediately considers my size when I hear the word. But I understand that health issues make managing the responsibilities associated with adulthood difficult.
Rates for doctor visits and different forms of insurance are jacked higher than those of healthy individuals. You have to search through and through just to find 500,000 life insurance with no exam, and that is if you are lucky.
If I know that being unhealthy makes living a full life hard, why does my subconscious drift into a state of self-loathing over my size instead of considering other factors that contribute to my health? Existing in this weird mental space about health makes it impossible for me to create healthy habits. This is a problem that many people face since society and media have equated being healthy to being small in size.
By definition, being healthy means for one to be absent of disease and being able to recover from illnesses and other problems quickly.
When physicians reference a person’s health, their physical, mental, and social well-being are what is normally considered. So to be “healthy” and live a full life, one must be absent from disease and other illnesses in all three of those areas.
Luckily, we have transformed into a society where body-shaming is unacceptable and where living a healthy lifestyle is promoted in a less demeaning way. This is something to be proud of but with society’s new standards how do you figure out what exactly are SMART health goals? And what are some examples of healthy goals?
What are SMART goals in health?
In order to establish smart and healthy goals for yourself, you have to create a plan that includes all three of its factors. Those would be your mental health, physical health, and social/well-being health.
- Mental Health – Being mentally healthy takes into regard your psychological and emotional state. If a person is able to acknowledge their own abilities, work productively, handle normal stress associated with life, and can add value to their community, then they would be considered mentally well.
- Physical Health – Your physical health focuses on the state of your physical body. The absence of disease and your level of physical activity reveals whether you are physically well or not.
- Social Health –Your ability to create and nurture meaningful relationships with others dictates your social health. If you can communicate and hang around people in a positive and respectful way, then your social well-being is in good shape.
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In some way or another, your health declines when you focus on one factor more than the other. During my freshman year in college, I studied, partied, and worked out all the time. The result of that was me being sleep-deprived to the point of being physically ill and hallucinating.
The SMART Goal Method
In order to make goals that catered all of those three factors, I needed to become more organized planning goals that followed the “SMART” method. SMART stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-framed.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine if your goal plans are SMART:
- Specific – What is your start date? What are you specifically focusing on? How will you accomplish this?
- Measurable – How often will you do this? What are you tracking and how will you track it? How much will you do?
- Action-oriented – What behavior are you changing? It is best to focus on changing physical behavior instead of emotional thoughts or feelings.
- Realistic – Can you really complete this goal? Or are you setting yourself up for failure? Try setting small goals that lead to a bigger goal. This is a more positive way to track progress.
- Time-framed – How long will it take you to reach your goal? Is this a lifestyle you are committing to or a temporary goal?
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Examples of SMART Health Goals
While in college, I did not plan my goals in a SMART way, and they did not prioritize all three factors associated with being healthy. So though some of my college goals were smart ideas and honorable in a different way, at the end of the day, they just were not SMART health goal examples.
Planning health goals should consist of a good diet, physical activity, social outings, and good mental habits. Following the SMART method will help you to be even more successful when trying to achieve your goals.
SMART Health Goals Example #1:
Goals for Your Nutrition
Healthy nutrition consists of a balanced meal. According to HealthyEating.org, “Balanced meals include one food from each food group- Dairy; Vegetables; Fruits; Grains and Protein. ”
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However, dairy products can be substituted for alternatives that are just as beneficial. To model the “5 for 5” balanced meal, here are some smart goals for nutrition examples:
- Eat breakfast that has a mixture of protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
- Include more fiber in your diet by eating brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole-grain pasta instead of its unhealthier counterparts like white rice and white pasta.
- Add a salad to your lunch or dinner.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables instead of carbs and sugars.
- Eat healthier snacks like fruit or nuts.
- Start reading the nutrient and ingredient label on foods.
- Eat healthier snacks in moderation throughout the day to avoid overeating during lunch and dinner.
- Substitute your sodas and sugary drinks for water.
- Plan to cook meals instead of eating out so you can avoid eating unhealthy foods.
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SMART Health Goals Examples #2:
Goals for Fitness and Strength
Of course, fitness is to be physically healthy and in good shape. There’s so much more to it than just setting weight-loss goals or even strength training.
Here are some smart health goals examples for fitness you can follow:
- Make sure your nutrition goals are smart! You need to have a healthy diet in order to become fit.
- Drink at least half of your weight in ounces. So if you weigh 100 pounds, you should drink 50 ounces of water a day. Your body needs to be hydrated in order to be physically active.
- Stretch more so you can avoid being injured easily and your muscles can be refreshed and flexible.
- If exercising is not your jam, plan to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day. You can do this by walking, playing with your kids and siblings, or even just dancing.
- Work in a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) every now and then to lose lower body fat, have leaner muscles, and increase your stamina.
- Do short exercises that target different parts of your body during different days of the week.
- Make time for daily exercises like Qigong meditation, Tai Chi, or Yoga for beginners.
- Rest your body because you cannot keep up physically without sleep and time to rejuvenate!
- Get up and stretch every hour when working at your desk all day.
Setting SMART goals for your physical health and fitness means ensuring you’re making movement part of your daily routine. This is especially important if you’re stuck inside and spending a lot of time working at your desk.
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SMART Health Goals Examples #3:
Mental and Social Wellness Goals
Practicing mental and social wellness is basically you practicing to be kinder to yourself and to others.
Here are some examples of SMART health goals for both:
- Take care of your entire body by exercising regularly, eating right, and getting enough sleep.
- Face your emotions; don’t ignore your thoughts and feelings. If you are feeling something, take a moment to understand why.
- Hang with like-minded people at least once a week and be yourself while doing so. Humans thrive off human-to-human relationships.
- Do not be afraid to say no, and be confident enough to say yes. Saying no when you want to is putting yourself first, and saying yes stops fear from preventing you from living a full life.
- Set boundaries with people in your life. This means you clearly express to individuals what you are comfortable with and what you are not comfortable with.
- Make time to self-care and alone time by pampering yourself at home or going on solo date nights.
- Be forgiving. Forgive yourself for messing up sometimes and forgive others for messing up too. Forgiveness means accepting something to the point where it no longer brings you out of your natural emotional state.
- Take mental health days seriously and plan them regularly.
- Ask for help when you need it because it is okay! Everyone needs help at some point so speak up for yourself and seek therapy if you need it.
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Laying the Foundation for Your SMART Health Goals
Now that you have examples of SMART health goals, you can solidify the goals that you want for yourself. In most cases, the intended outcome for health goals is to end in a place where living healthy is habitual. If that is not the case for you, then you can more precisely define your goal timeline using the SMART method.
After deciphering the goals you want to achieve, you can outline your plan for those goals by making sure it is Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-framed. Ask yourself the questions provided earlier so you can ensure your plan aligns with each step.
Here’s an example of how. Instead of saying “I want to get fit and lose some weight” your SMART health goal would be:
- S: Starting this Monday I will focus on losing 15lbs through exercise and eating healthier.
- M: Working out three times a week for 30 minutes or more, weighing and measuring my progress every Friday until I hit my goal of losing 15 lbs.
- A: By breaking my bad habit of just watching TV after work, I’m going to get up and go to the gym. I will also stay motivated with a work-out mixtape and reaching positive self-help books instead of gossip magazines. Plus, instead of eating take away, I’m going to pack healthy lunches.
- R: Yes, I can do this with the support of an accountability buddy and my friends. I’ll start small with lunches and slowly replace all my meals with healthier ones.
- T: I’d like to hit my goal in 4 months, if it takes a bit longer that’s okay, I will keep going.
What’s your SMART health goal example? How will you focus on your health?
Get Your SMART Goals Worksheet
Ready to set your own SMART health goal? Sign up below to get your FREE SMART Goals Worksheet, form-fillable, and printable. It has all the questions you need to ask in order to make it SMART + helpful examples.
Here are some last-minute tips to reach your SMART health goals:
- Plan ahead to prevent procrastination.
- Take it one day at a time, forming a new habit as you go.
- WRITE out your goals and why they are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-framed.
- Stay motivated by celebrating the little wins like exercising for the first or third time.
If you are not reaching your goal stay positive! You learned what does not work for yourself. Now you can rework your plan to find what does. Your goals change, and that is okay!
What SMART Health goals examples will you set?
More About Guest Contributor
Imani Francies writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, EffortlessInsurance.com. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media and specializes in various forms of media marketing.