Happy New Year!

If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t predict what our future will be like.  2020 has been a challenging year for everyone.  However, there are so many things that we have learnt, that have helped us adapt and also become stronger as we dealt with our own ways of living with Covid-19. 

Before you begin to set your goals for 2021, it is important to reflect on the year you have just had. Think about the year as a whole; experiences and situations that you would like to learn from. Take time to digest the highs and lows and come to a place where you can release some of the attached stress and emotions. Having a better mindset, can prepare you for the coming year.  Some of the best ways to relax and reduce stress are meditation, walking, exercise, journaling and reading.  Do also, celebrate your wins for this year, however big or small they may be.

Next, let’s look at how to set your health related goals for the coming year using the SMART technique to ensure its success.

What does this acronym mean?

S – Be specific when writing down your goals so you know exactly what you are working towards.  Have a few big goals and break these into mini goals which are easier to achieve, as it’s the small steps that lead to big changes.

M – Ensure your goals can be measured as this allows you to track your progress.  The goals also have to be meaningful to you so you can continue with them, not just in January when you are motivated, but throughout the year.

A – Write down what actions you need to take and ensure that you have set achievable goals.  Tip: Visual cues on a vision boards are also an excellent reminder for the actual actions required to accomplish your goals.

R – Have goals that are relevant and right for you, don’t set them only because your friends have them as a goal.  Also, be realistic about what you plan to do; don’t try and do too much in a short period of time and then give up because you felt overwhelmed.

T – Set the time frame to achieve these goals and if necessary change the time frame if needed. Do keep reviewing and updating your goals during the year. 

In summary, when setting your goals, make sure they are specific, meaningful to you, achievable, relevant, realistic and right for you. Do set how you’ll measure progress and the expected timeframe.

As an example, let’s look at weight loss and one of the best ways to get fitter is by walking. I will break this down using SMART to give you a better idea:

S – Make it specific; I will walk daily for 30 minutes . 

M – Meaningful because my weight is negatively affecting my confidence and happiness. Measure time using my watch or phone.

A – Action is to brisk walk daily; if I miss one walk I will make up for it.  

R – My work keeps me quite busy so realistically I can only give 30 minutes to this everyday. I enjoy walking so it is the right form of exercise for me.

T – I plan to walk 30 minutes daily for 2 months and will then review what to change it to.

I suggest breaking each of your big goals into small goals and using SMART goals to achieve this.   I hope this New Year brings you all you wish for.