How setting SMART goals can change your life! (Guest blogger – Mel)

MikedUp Blog is thrilled to welcome “Mel” as the first guest blogger to our site! We have a ‘Guest blogger’ page under construction right now, where you’ll be able to read more about credentials and past achievements. For now though, Mel has worked in the healthcare field for over 30 years, has been a contributing author on 11 scientific publications, and currently works as a clinical research nurse at a major hospital system. She has been gracious enough to share some of her knowledge with us and we’re thrilled that’s the case!  Here’s her first post about goal setting:

 

Hello readers!

 

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It is with great joy and excitement that Mike has invited me to be a guest blogger for MikedUp Blog!  My contributions will be topic focused and aim to accomplish 3 things:

  • Share knowledge about the week’s topic.
  • Suggest a skill to put that knowledge into action.
  • Support you in implementing that skill so you can build confidence and work toward achieving your goals.

 

This post is going to focus on goal setting.

 

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Often times, people fail at keeping their goals because they haven’t set good or “SMART” goals.  Has this ever happened to you? Are you ready for a better YOU?  Keep reading because we’re here to help you find a better you.  By making SMART goals, you will make steady progress toward better health and more secure finances.  Setting SMART goals can apply to many different areas of your life.

 

Let’s start with a case study about trying to lose weight.

 

Lisa is 35 years old, is 50 pounds overweight, has a 1 ½ year-old daughter, works full time and is married.  She had a recent wellness checkup through her work and found out she has prediabetes and slightly elevated blood pressure.  YIKES!  Lisa has also noticed recently she has low energy making it difficult for her to keep up with daily activities, like chasing after her daughter and her work. The battle seemed so tough, she could fall asleep soon after lunch if she had a free moment.

She has tried at least 3 times to lose weight and each time, loses about 5 pounds, only to become discouraged when she doesn’t stick with her “diet”.  When she followed up with her doctor she was told to “lose weight”, because she was on the road to having diabetes and high blood pressure.  Leaving the office discouraged and hungry, since she hadn’t had time to eat lunch, she swung by McDonalds only to grab a Big Mac, fries and a “diet” coke.  She does this saying to herself, “this is the last time I’ll do this.  I’ll start tomorrow”.    Tomorrow becomes today and it’s also Friday….   The excuses ring on, I’ll start at the first of the month, but the first falls on a Saturday and on and on and on…

 

Does any of this sound familiar?

 

If I asked readers to raise their hand if this sounds familiar, the majority of hands would be raised.   Let’s start with the knowledge piece, as I mentioned I would do with each post.  The current rates for adults who are overweight or obese are 70.7%, not to mention that children and adolescents are being affected as well.  For current rates of adults and children who are overweight or obese refer to this CDC website.

Lisa knows she “has to do something”.  She has low confidence since she has not been successful in the past but knows if she doesn’t try again, if she keeps living the same she will keep her current weight or gain more.  The good news is, Lisa knows that she has a supportive husband and other friends who are also struggling with getting healthier by losing weight.  The real truth?  Lisa knows her eating habits are less than ideal for her to lose the weight, gain more energy, and to avoid her family history of diabetes and high blood pressure.  So, what are her options?

Well, she first tried a few commercial programs.  Sound familiar?   In 2014 the US weight loss market totaled 64 billion dollars.  Those worked while she followed the “diet plan” but she realizes now, the commercial programs don’t work with her lifestyle.

Lifestyle?  Yes, lifestyle.  For each one of you reading this, there are that many lifestyles.  For one thing, it’s expensive, she doesn’t like the food and she gets bored eating the same thing day after day.  Lisa then decides she is going to do the “healthier” versus less healthier eating approach.  That way she can plan, purchase and prepare food that fits her lifestyle.  She read something about this strategy recently, one of her friends is taking the approach, and thinks it may be an option for her.

Here’s where it is critical that Lisa makes good, or as you will read, “SMART” goals.

 

What are SMART goals?

 

“S” Specific- you know exactly what you want to do.

“M” Measurable- you can tell what you’re doing or if something needs to be changed.

“A” Achievable -set goals you can control.

“R” Relevant- the goals should be important to you.

“T” Time bound-the time needed to reach your goal.

 

Let’s set a short term weight goal for Lisa (Short term weight goals are about 3 months’ time).

 

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I will lose up to 1-2 pounds this week.  (“Up to” gives her some room if one week she maintains).

Is it specific? Yes, 1-2 pounds this week.

Is it measureable? Yes, her weight on the scale.

Is it achievable? Yes, 1 pound equals 3,500 calories so if she either cuts back or burns an additional 500 calories per day the coming week, she can do it.  Maybe she will cut out the Starbucks frappaccino or hop on the exercise bike?

Is it relevant? Yes, she wants to lose weight to control her blood sugar and blood pressure.

Is it time bound? Yes, this week.

 

Long term:

 

If she continues with this plan, a long term goal of losing 50 pounds, up to 1-2 pounds at a time, is much more doable than looking at it like I have to lose 50 pounds NOW!

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How might Lisa approach this?  One way is portion control.    Check out choosemyplate.gov to see how you can create your own healthy plate using the foods you like.  Sorry donuts, pizza and pop are not on the lists.

 

What’s your drive?

 

Motivation and persistence are key.  Why? Because there will be bumps in the road.

Often times people have unrealistic expectations.  I call it the all or nothing attitude.  For example, any kind of chocolate candy is my “weakness”.  If I say I am never going to eat a piece of chocolate again, then eat a piece, I’ve blown my “diet.”  I say, “I blew it, I knew I couldn’t do it and I declare to myself, I’m off my diet.”  Feeling very discouraged, I head back to McDonalds and history repeats itself.

Don’t let this happen to you.  Know your priorities!  Know why you are doing this.  Everyone has their own reasons to be healthy.  Support yourself, by getting back on track.  As Americans we are so used to getting things now.  A year can come and go faster than you think.  Taking this approach, Lisa will have time to build healthier habits along the way AND her family will be healthier too.  She can say “not now” to diabetes or high blood pressure.  She will be happier, she will have more energy to play with her daughter, but most of all she will be more satisfied with herself.  After all, this is for her.  If she doesn’t take care of herself, who will.

 

Check out the two additional links for practical advice and success stories from others.

 

www.obesityaction.org/

www.nwcr.ws

 

Thank you for being here!

 

This is a guest contribution from Mel, our resident clinical research nurse. If you’ve enjoyed this post please share it with a friend. We would also love it if you subscribe to the blog so that our new posts come straight to your inbox. Want to see what else we’ve published? Check out our Index page.

 

Do you have a question or comment for Mel? Let us know by commenting on the post or emailing Mike. We’re glad you’re here. Thanks again and talk soon!

 

– Mike
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