Dr. Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs Research Director Discusses Setting SMART Goals to Improve Your Health

Dr. Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs Medical Research Director explains how SMART goals can improve your health.

Are you looking to improve your health in the new year? If so, you’re not alone. Every January, millions of people make resolutions to get in shape and live a healthier life. Unfortunately, many of them give up after just a few weeks. Why is it that so many people have trouble sticking to their resolutions? A big part of the problem is that they don’t set SMART goals. In this article, Dr. Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs will explain what SMART goals are and how to use them to improve your health in the new year!

Dr. Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs Research Director Discusses Setting SMART Goals to Improve Your Health
Dr. Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs Research Director and SMART Goals. Image/Shutterstock

What are SMART Goals?

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In other words, they are goals that you can achieve. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people set goals too vague or too ambitious.

For example, a goal like “I want to lose weight” is not SMART because it’s not specific. How much weight do you want to lose? In what timeframe? What methods will you use?

On the other hand, a goal like “I want to lose 20 pounds in three months by going to the gym four times a week and eating a healthy diet” is much smarter. It’s specific (20 pounds), measurable (by going to the gym four times a week), attainable (if you’re reasonably healthy and have the time to commit to working out), relevant (to your overall health and wellness), and time-bound (three months).

Why are SMART Goals Important for Your Health?

Dr. Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs says, setting SMART goals is essential for your health because it can help you:

Lose weight: by setting a specific weight loss goal, you can track your progress and see how well you’re doing.

Eat better: by setting a goal to eat a certain number of servings of fruits and vegetables per day, you’ll be more likely to make healthier food choices.

Get active: by setting a goal to walk or run a certain number of miles per week, you’ll be more likely to stick to your workout routine.

Quit smoking: by setting a goal to quit smoking within a specific timeframe, you’ll be more likely to stick to your plan and kick the habit for good.

Get enough sleep: by setting a goal to get at least eight hours of sleep per night, you’ll be more likely to make sure you’re getting the rest you need.

Reduce stress: by setting a goal to do things that help you relax and de-stress, like yoga or meditation, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and feel the benefits.

How to Set SMART Goals for Yourself?

When setting SMART goals for your health, it’s essential to be realistic. If you’ve never exercised before, don’t set a goal of running a marathon in three months. Start with something smaller, like walking for 30 minutes three times a week.

It’s also important to be specific. Rather than setting a goal of “eating healthy,” make a goal of eating two fruits and vegetables at every meal.

And finally, make sure your goals are time-bound. This will help you stay on track and motivated. Set a goal to lose two pounds per week or to walk for 30 minutes five days per week.

Examples of SMART Goals You Can Set for Your Health

Here are some examples of SMART goals from Dr Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs, that you can set for your health:

  • I will lose 20 pounds in three months by going to the gym four times a week and eating a healthy diet.
  • I will eat two fruits and vegetables at every meal.
  • I will walk for 30 minutes five days per week.
  • I will quit smoking within six months.
  • I will get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
  • I will do yoga for 30 minutes three times a week.

How to Track Your Progress and Stay Motivated?

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, it’s crucial to track your progress. This will help you stay on track and motivated. There are a few different ways you can do this:

Use a fitness tracker
If you’re trying to lose weight or get active, use a fitness tracker to track your steps, calories burned, and other metrics.

Keep a food diary
If you’re trying to eat better, keep a food diary and track the fruits and vegetables you eat each day.

Use a goal-tracking app
Several apps can help you track your progress and stay on track with your goals.

Set up reminders
Set up reminders on your phone or in your calendar to remind you to eat a healthy meal or go for a walk.

Tips for Staying on Track With Your Health Goals

Here are some tips for staying on track with your health goals:

Find a buddy
It’s always easier to stick to your goals when you have someone to support you. Find a friend or family member with similar health goals and team up with them.

Get creative
Try new things to keep yourself motivated. If you’re bored with your workout routine, try a new exercise class or go for a hike instead.

Set small goals
Rather than thinking about your overall goal, focus on smaller goals that you can achieve in the short term. This will help you stay motivated and see progress.

Find what works for you
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health. Find what works for you and stick with it.

Make it fun
If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re not going to stick with it. Find ways to make your health journey fun, whether trying new recipes or listening to music while you work out.

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Final Thoughts

Setting SMART goals is an integral part of any successful health and fitness plan. By setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals, you can improve your chances of reaching your targets and improving your health. In this article, Dr. Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs discussed how to set SMART goals for yourself, as well as provide some examples of reasonable health goals to get you started. We will also talk about how to track your progress and stay motivated so you can reach your targets successfully. Follow these tips, and you will be on the road to better health in no time!

Author

Jason Vredenburg, RD

Jason Vredenburg is a nutrition writer with over twenty years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. He has researched and written nu

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