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Goal Setting to Improve Health

Friday, October 26, 2018

By Anna Buchanan

 We all have goals in life. These goals may include professional aspirations, weight loss, family planning, etc. The list of potential goals is infinite. With life getting in the way all the time, we often push our health goals to the side, and tell ourselves that we will start tomorrow or next week or next month when things finally settle down. Well, I’ll be honest with you, life never settles down. There will always be another work project, or another practice to drop your kid off.

 Instead of pushing these ideas for healthy living to the side, set a goal. Setting goals correctly can be a very effective tool to change poor health habits. Goal setting is completely specialized for YOU and your own needs. Any area of health can benefit from goal setting whether you want to work on weight loss, nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation, stress management, or something else. Many health professionals have found success using SMART Goal setting. SMART Goals are more effective than other goal setting means, because it provides a clearly written plan to achieve your goals.


 I used this worksheet to set SMART Goals and it proved to be very beneficial http://www.hr.virginia.edu/uploads/documents/media/Writing_SMART_Goals.pdf. The same approach can be used for your health goals. A goal should be specific and clearly state what you are wanting to achieve. You must be able to measure if the goal has been achieved. Is your goal attainable? It will not be possible to achieve a goal that you do not have the resources to make it happen. It is important to identify any barriers to achieving your goals and determine if the barriers are small enough to maneuver around, or if they will be large enough to prevent goal achievement. Goals must be relevant. In order to be a priority in your life, the goal must be relevant to your needs or the needs of the people around you. Lastly, always have an end-date or range of time that you will work towards achieving your goal. This will help prevent the common occurrence of pushing off goals like I mentioned earlier. 

 My last tip for goal setting: focus on behavioral goals. Instead of working towards weight loss, work towards a goal that involves the changing of a behavior. Creating a goal to only drink water at meals or to run a mile without stopping to walk will be more effective than the goal to lose 15 pounds by the end of the summer. As these goals are achieved and updated with more challenging goals over time, weight loss will occur as a result, and you will not feel the pressure from stepping on the scale every week.

Whatever you are wanting to change, it is possible! You are in control and you can make it happen! Creating a SMART Goal is just the first step towards a healthier, happier you.


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Elkhorn Logan Valley
Public Health Department
2104 21st Circle / PO Box 779, Wisner, NE 68791
Phone: 402.529.2233  - or -  877.379.4400
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