Goal setting for better living

Start small when setting goals and keep these tips in mind.

Our lives are filled with many challenges both personally and professionally. We are faced with having to set goals or have goals set for us to accomplish these challenges. Although these goals are meant to make us successful, they sometimes set us up for failure. For example, if a goal to exercise every day, eat only healthy foods and lose 20 pounds around the holidays has been set, there is a good chance that this goal will not be accomplished. Below are some tips to think about when setting goals whether they are for weight loss, physical activity, getting to work on time, or finishing a project around the house.

Goals should be SMART:

Specific: The goal should identify a specific action or event that will take place.

Measurable: The goal and its benefits should be something you can quantify.

Achievable: The goal should be attainable given available resources.

Realistic: The goal should require you to stretch some, but allow the likelihood of success.

Timely: The goal should state the time period in which it will be accomplished.

SMART goals or action plans are also an important part of managing a chronic disease. Michigan State University Extension offers a workshop called PATH (Personal Action Towards Health) for people with a chronic disease. The workshop provides the skills and tools to manage chronic health conditions. People involved in PATH are better equipped to face the daily challenges of living with one or more chronic conditions. PATH helps people learn:

  • How to deal with the challenges of not feeling well
  • Talk to healthcare providers and family members
  • Overcome stress and relax
  • Increase energy
  • Handle everyday activities more easily
  • Stay independent

Making small action plans to make bigger changes in life will help to give a person a better chance to be successful and happier. For more information about healthy lifestyles, please visit MSU Extension


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