By Kimberly Faulkner, Fitness Technician & Certified Personal Trainer, Meriter Wellness Center
The holidays are quickly approaching which means added stress, increased calorie intake, and avoiding fitness and dietary goals. Believe it or not, the holiday season is a perfect time to set simple SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals relating to diet and exercise. Setting SMART goals will help you get through the holiday season without added stress and possible weight gain.
Setting SMART goals helps you reach your objectives because if a goal is too general and not attainable the goal will be harder to accomplish. Having unrealistic goals can lead to guilt and additional stress. The goal should be set for your lifestyle and not overwhelm you. For example, if you have a busy schedule and you can’t exercise daily, set your goal for four days a week, 20-30 minutes per session. Or if you normally drink 4 glasses of water per day make a small adjustment and increase to 5 glasses.
Here are some tips to help you achieve your SMART goals during the holiday season.1. Keep the goals simple.
- Establish one exercise goal and one dietary goal. Try to focus on these two goals and if you get off track don’t stress or feel guilty. Get back on track the next day.
- Schedule exercise into your daily calendar. Scheduling will make exercise more of a priority and not just a thought.
- Try a new class that meets 1-2 times per week. This will allow your exercise time to already be planned and give you more accountability.
- Check out exercise videos. If going to an exercise class is overwhelming, check out an exercise DVD from the library, find one on YouTube or borrow one from a friend. If you are a beginner find one that involves low impact cardio, strength and flexibility.
- Go digital. Use a tracking app like MyFitnessPal to track calories and exercise minutes. Tracking will allow you to be more mindful with the number of calories consumed and exercise minutes.
- Sit less, move more. Use a pedometer or a phone app to track steps per day. Increase your steps per day by 50-100 or more depending on your goal.
- Prep for a party. If you have a holiday party to attend, go for a 20-30 minute walk and focus on eating more fruit and vegetables that day. Don’t go to the party starving.
- Set a timer. Use an alarm on your phone to remind you to stand up and move or drink a glass of water.
- Find an exercise partner. Ask a friend or co-worker to exercise with you. Exercising with someone gives you more accountability and motivation to continue.
- Every bit counts! Remember, something is better than nothing. A 5-10 minute yoga routine or walk will benefit you!
The holidays are a busy time but it is still important to put your health at the top of the priority list. Setting small goals during the holiday season will also give you momentum into the New Year. The New Year is a good time to re-evaluate your goals and make changes if necessary. Continue to use the SMART goal method and keep it simple yet concise. If you didn’t reach your daily goal, don’t give up and focus on accomplishing it the next day!