Make Your New Year's Resolutions SMART

smart goals

The start of a New Year generally brings with it a renewed interest in living a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s the guilt of overeating during the holidays, or the genuine promise of a “new start,” nearly half of all Americans state that they usually make New Year’s Resolutions. Most are geared towards eating healthier, exercising more and losing weight. Although well-intentioned, they often don’t stick. Keep your diet and exercise goals on track for 2018, with SMART resolutions. These are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. 

Specific: Be very specific about what it looks like for you to live a healthier life. Choose something like: I will be physically active for at least thirty minutes every day. Need more ideas? AICR's Recommendations for Cancer Prevention provide some specifics on how to be healthier while also reducing your cancer risk. 

Measurable: Know what you are actually achieving by measuring your success. If you are aiming to cut back on sugary drinks, start by tracking how many of these you drink daily. Then determine your ultimate goal and set the number of drinks you will cut out week-by-week, until you have reached your goal. 

Attainable:  Make sure that your goal is realistic.  For example, if you want to increase your physical activity, list ways to work it into your daily routine that are fun and easy. Small changes, such as taking the stairs or partaking in walking meetings, can help you reach your goal.   

Relevant: Establish goals that are relevant to you. If your resolution is to lead a healthier lifestyle, think about what you can commit to changing in 2018 that will be a health booster. Do you eat too many salty foods, or drink too many sugary drinks? Or is alcohol the culprit? Begin with factors that are the most realistic for you to change.

Time-bound: Set what you will achieve within a certain amount of time, like each day or over the week. For example, I will try one new-to-me vegetable every week for one month. Or I will walk for 15 minutes 3 times a day. 

With these steps in mind, you can make your resolution a reality. Whether you participate in making resolutions or not, we encourage you to make 2018 a year in which you eat smart, move more and reach or maintain a healthy weight to help lower your risk of developing cancer.  

Sign up for our New American Plate Challenge, starting in February, for weekly SMART goal ideas, while also getting healthy recipes, tips from experts and support delivered right to your inbox. 

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