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Health Tip: Smaller More Specific Goals

I am a goal oriented person, but I just read that ambiguous goals are less motivating since they seem harder to attain. Allison Chopra, a fitness expert at Indiana University, believes goals like "losing weight" or "feeling better" are too amorphous to measure on a daily or weekly basis so they don't help you stay focused. It is always helpful to remember that weight loss takes time since dropping 1 to 2 pounds a week is considered safe, doable and maintainable.

Chopra believes people need to be SMART about their goals and yes that is a helpful acronym. SMART is a fitness industry catch phrase and it breaks down like this - goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reward (as in, give yourself one when you've achieved a goal) and Time (set a time for reaching the goal). Seems easy to do, right?

Chopra often gives her clients' goals a little bit of a make over. If the over all, long term goal is to feel healthier, the short term goal is to get 8 hours of sleep a night for a week. (Do you think the reward would be an afternoon nap on Sunday?) She would replace the ambiguous goal of "eating healthy" with limiting the intake of sugar for a week. Instead of eliminating fat from all food, she suggests a focus on eating breakfast every morning. Of course, the best way to track your goals is to keep a journal!

I am curious if you have any specific goals. Tell me about them in the comments section below.

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Join The Conversation
glamoured glamoured 8 years
I want to run at least every other morning, and be able to run 45 minutes by mid-october (I'm kind of out of shape, in case you can't tell). weight-wise, I want to lose 15 pounds until the end of the year. doable, i think, at a rate of 1-2 pounds/week.
loux2 loux2 8 years
I want to exercise at least 3 or 4 time a week.Increse my strength training so i can do 10kg bicep curls (currently on 7kg..bit of a way to go still!)I'd like to complete a half marathon this time next year...we'll see though!
loux2 loux2 8 years
I want to exercise at least 3 or 4 time a week. Increse my strength training so i can do 10kg bicep curls (currently on 7kg..bit of a way to go still!) I'd like to complete a half marathon this time next year...we'll see though!
valepere valepere 8 years
Get rid of 1kg per week by cutting down my carb intake and by exercising at least 30 mins 6 days a week :) So far, I've managed to get rid of 8 kg in 2 and a half months (I got a bit lazy some days hihi).
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 8 years
sweet mtiger! good job and keep it up! i dont drink many diet sodas, don't like the taste. but i bought these minute maid fruit blasts or something which are like capri suns but only 5 cals per drink. i'm not a fan of water with lemon, but I do drink water often
mtiger mtiger 8 years
I'm with you, gumdrop! I am trying to cut out all drinks (even diet drinks) except for water. Try water with lemon...I love it! My goal is to lose 40 pounds in 4 months. I'm also trying to run/walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill 5 days a week. Doing well so far!
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
lose20 lbs by my birthday at the end of Jan. The goal WAS 30 lbs, but given the holiday seasn I'm giving myself a break :-)
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 8 years
craving**
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 8 years
craving**
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 8 years
i dont think you can totally avoid sugar. maybe high fructose corn syrup. Another goal I've been working on is no soft drinks ever, pretty much only drink water unless i'm really crazy something else, then i'll go for a 5 calorie beverage
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 8 years
Avoid SUGAR!!!! But I end up eating it everyday somehow..blah. I need help.
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 8 years
My goal is to workout in the mornings on Mondays and Wednesdays and walk to class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If so, my reward is a break on Friday
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