Start 2021 the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Way
We explain the seven S.M.A.R.T.E.R. principles of setting goals to help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions and outline how you can utilise them to improve your health.
Published: Thursday 07 January 2021
Yes, it’s that time of year again! The New Year often heralds change in our lives as we aim to make and keep New Year resolutions. As the UK enters another tougher lockdown to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, keeping up with new commitments can be an added challenge due to the high level of disruption caused by lockdowns and new regulations.
This past year has more than focused our attention on prioritising our health, fitness and well-being. While starting New Year resolutions is often the easiest part, seeing them through to the end can be a challenge. To help you keep your New Year's resolutions this year, we explain the seven S.M.A.R.T.E.R. principles of goal setting to help you achieve your targets on your way to better health in 2021.
Make Your New Year’s Resolutions S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
One of the best ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions is by setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals. S.M.A.R.T.E.R. is an acronym comprising of seven elements - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Enjoyable and Rewarded. In these seven steps, you can make your resolutions more manageable.
Goals that are too vague may lack direction. Making your resolutions very specific will help you focus on how exactly you can achieve your goals. If one of your resolutions is to be more active, you can specify what type of exercises and how often of each you would participate per week.
In order to track your progress, you will need to measure your progress. If one of your resolutions is to sleep more, you can use the measurement of time to determine your goal such as increasing your hours of sleep by two hours week-on-week. Remember to make note of how often you meet your targets.
Setting the benchmark of success for a goal too high can lead to disappointment and reduced motivation. Creating a resolution that is achievable in at least the short-term is key to manage your expectations more effectively.
It can be tempting to add a resolution that is popular but doesn’t necessarily align with your genuine interests or aspirations. If you are looking to improve your health and fitness then it is important to identify relevant targets that are reflective of an improvement you would like to see. You can pinpoint your goal setting priorities by writing a list of areas you can improve on versus a list of areas you care about the most.
One of the most common pitfalls when it comes to goal setting is not defining a time period for your resolution. Each goal must start somewhere, so pick a start and end date you can work within. Aim for a reasonable time period that will allow you to discover noticeable improvements. This time period can later be adjusted according to your progress. When working toward a long-term goal, make sure you break it down to a series of short-term goals to keep you motivated and allow you to monitor progress.
Ensuring your goal, target or activity is enjoyable is one of the most important considerations when it comes to planning an effective New Year’s Resolution. If you enjoy a challenge, then increase your difficulty or make the task competitive with yourself or someone else. To avoid repetition, boredom and apathy, which can be a downfall to keeping New Year’s Resolutions, it’s essential that you keep yourself interested and remind yourself why you started.
Finally, you want to positively reinforce your efforts during your resolutions. You can do this by introducing suitable rewards each time you hit a target that will not detract from your progress.
Below are ways in which you can apply S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals to maintain and improve your health.
Maintaining a balanced diet with an optimum calorie in-take is essential to a healthy lifestyle. The average recommended calorie in-take for men is 2,500 calories whereas for women it is 2,000 calories. You can start by making note of what is currently included in your diet before deciding what lacking food groups you can add and where you can reduce your calorie in-take.
As it’s winter, it can be easy to forget about minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin D which aids calcium absorption for stronger bones . Taking necessary mineral and vitamin supplements to support your diet is recommended.
Regular exercise is essential for ensuring healthy cardiovascular function as your heart is responsible for circulating oxygen and nutrients to maintain organ and muscle function. Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week .
If the latest lockdown has restricted access to a gym or if you don’t have space at home, outdoor exercise in the form of walking, running and cycling are all effective alternatives.If you are able to workout at home, then this may offer a more suitable alternative, especially with darker, colder evenings of the winter months.
Sleep plays an important role in regulating important bodily functions including our appetite, immune system and even our memories. In fact, sleeping 5 hours or less each night can lead to an increased risk of several health issues including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. You can read our expert article on improving sleep quality, here.
Keeping on top of sexual health during lockdown is crucial to ensure physical and mental well-being. Being proactive about seeking sexual health treatment and advice is highly important as it can be a source of stress if it is not prioritised. Common sexual health conditions such as erectile dysfunction and sexually transmitted infections can be easily treated with clinically proven medication.
There is no need to be concerned about discretion when ordering treatment from us here at Pharmica; our service, packaging and delivery is all fully confidential and discreet.
Much has been discussed about the impact lockdown has had on mental health, due to lack of physical contact with your friends and family and restricted access to recreational activities. The mental health charity, Mind, has an extensive guide you can follow with tips on how to reduce stress and maintain your mental health during lockdown.
It’s important to acknowledge the impact of physical health conditions, if left untreated, on mental health and well-being. If you require prescription treatment to help manage a particular condition, it’s important to ensure a regular supply in line with the recommended dosage.
New Year’s resolutions can be an empowering method of improving the quality of your life. How exactly these resolutions take shape and following them through can be a challenge, however, we recommend giving the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. principles a try to make it easier to meet your goals. Good luck and we hope you have a healthy 2021!