Monday Medical: Resolve to be SMART |

Monday Medical: Resolve to be SMART

Heather Rose/For the Steamboat Today

We're five days in. Are you sticking to your New Year's resolution? If so, you're in good company. By Day 7, one out of four will abandon their thoughts of change in the New Year.

The statistics continue to slide as the pages flip on the calendar. In truth, just 8 percent of those who make a New Year's resolution succeed by year's end. It's no wonder that fewer than half of Americans even bother pledging to make improvements anymore.

Perhaps it's the lure of tradition or the promise of a new beginning that keep the New Year's resolution alive for some. Intentions to lose weight, get fit or quit smoking continue to make the top 10 list each year. From a health standpoint, these are admirable ambitions. Yet as French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish" — or a resolution, as it may be.

The upside is it's not too late to develop a plan for your resolution and improve your odds. Establishing a SMART goal is a great way to make a plan. Many have used SMART goals successfully in the workplace but have never thought to apply them to personal goals.

SMART is an acronym for attributes a goal should possess: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Creating SMART goals sets you on a course for success.

• Specific: This is the who, what, why, where and when of your resolution. It's not enough to say, "I'm going to exercise more," or "I'm going to lose weight." These statements don't have enough detail to drive your actions or mark success. More specific goals would be, "I'm going to get 40 minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular exercise three times per week by running on a treadmill or outdoors (weather permitting) and take a strength training class two times a week for the entire year," or "I will lose 15 pounds by June 30 by reducing my daily calorie intake by 100 calories and burning at least 200 calories each day with exercise."

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• Measurable: Choose criteria for your resolution that can be measured. Measuring progress not only keeps you on track, but can be exhilarating and help propel you forward. It also can help you realize quickly when you've fallen off of the wagon. How much? How many? When? How often will you check progress? Answering these questions in advance will help maintain your course along the way. Downloadable apps are available for those looking for easy ways to measure miles, track workouts or count calories.

• Attainable: Think about how your goal might be accomplished. Don't set yourself up for failure. This is the time to think about all of your resources: time, money, knowledge, personality traits. Do you have enough money to carry out your plan? Do you need the help of a professional? Do you have the support you need from family or friends? Is there enough time in your schedule to devote to this goal? Are you being realistic for your current circumstance? Asking yourself these questions now will help to prepare the right plan for you.

• Relevant: Choose a goal that matters to you. If you really don't care, you're not going to be committed to taking the steps needed to accomplish the goal. Is it worthwhile? Is it the right time in your life? Change is hard. Make it worth your time.

• Time-bound: Set a date. Is this goal to be completed by the end of the year? Six months? Where do you want to be in six weeks? Choose a timeline that will keep you engaged and help you steamroll daily distractions. Plan dates to track your progress along the way.

Use SMART goal setting to revise your old resolution and ring in the New Year with success.

This article includes information from the and

Heather Rose is the marketing and communications manager for Yampa Valley Medical Center.

For more

Visit and click the link on Wellness Tools in the center of the page. Get the numbers you need to help with your SMART goal.

• Body Mass Index calculator

• Calorie burner counter calculator

• Target heart rate calculator

• Desirable body weight calculator

• Nutritional needs calculator

• Waist to hip ratio