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Think SMART!

Ever wonder where to get started when trying to lose weight?

Setting goals is an important first step, but you need to be S.M.A.R.T about it! S.M.A.R.T is an acronym to help you set goals that can jump start your journey.

Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Specific. Your goal should be clear and easy to understand.

Measurable. A goal to “lose weight” is not enough. How will you track your progress and how you will know when you have reached your goal? Making your goal measurable means adding a number.

Attainable. Before you can add a number, you have to know how high or low you want to go. It’s good to ‘shoot for the stars’, but don’t be too extreme. Likewise, a goal that is too easy is also not very motivating. Only you know your limits.

Realistic. Ask yourself, “Do I have the capabilities, resources, and physical abilities to reach my goal? Really?”

Time-bound. Include an end-point. Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to get started.

WebMD.com offers a great example: If you use a fitness tracker to keep track of calories burned by exercising you can use this as a starting point. Look at your fitness device to see how many calories you burn a week by exercising. Let’s say its 1,000 calories.

Use that data to bump up your calorie burn. For example, a S.M.A.R.T. goal is “I will walk enough to burn at least 1,250 calories through exercise this week.”

Specific. Rather than simply saying, “I’m going to exercise more,” you’ve specified how many calories you’ll burn.

Measurable. Your device will track the calories you burn, so you’ll be able to clearly know when you succeed.

Attainable. Since you’re already burning 1,000 calories a week through exercise, bumping it up a bit should be manageable. To burn 1,250 calories, you’ll need to add about one extra workout.

Realistic. Rather than aiming to burn 10,000 calories a week, make small changes that you know you can handle. Who knows, after accomplishing this goal you may learn that you can handle more!

Time-bound. This is your goal for this week. Period. You can choose to pursue this goal again next week, or you can set a new goal. It’s easier to commit to a goal — and be successful — if you do it for a set amount of time.

The best place to start is by thinking S.M.A.R.T!

Dr. Renee Simons, Psy.D
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist

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