Auren O’Connell, DNP, PMHNP
KVH Family Medicine – Cle Elum
SMART goals come in all sizes – but even smaller actions can have big results!
It is spring! How are you feeling? Excited, sad, happy, anxious, tired, energized?
Whatever you are feeling, if you were able to instantly identify your mood in this moment, then half the battle is over – so, good job! What truly matters is whether or not you want to continue feeling the way you are now.
Are you desperate for change?
All of us have been desperate for change at one point or another in our lives. This is why many of us create New Year’s resolutions, but in my experience, such resolutions often amount to nothing more than a frustrating tradition, when we feel stuck in our ability to solve a problem or accomplish a goal. At times, even annual medical visits can seem like a tradition that leads to frustration.
How do we bridge the gap from frustration to confidence and achievable goals?
Big, audacious, and long term goals are typically created with the SMART acronym in mind:
S: Specific (state exactly what you want to accomplish)
M: Measurable (use smaller markers to be able to measure progress)
A: Attainable (think big, but keep it reasonable)
R: Relevant (set a goal that will be relevant to you all year)
T: Timely (allocate enough time and set a time block or target date)
There are whole workshops dedicated toward creating SMART personal goals, but I want to challenge you to create a SMART goal that you can achieve today or tomorrow. Also, I encourage you to start your goal with “Today I will…”
- “Today, I will read an enjoyable book called ‘Teaming’ for 15 minutes, from 9:45 to 10:00 p.m.”
- “Tomorrow morning, I will do stretching, breathing exercises, and 50 push-ups and sit-ups from 6:45 to 7:00 a.m.”
(Avoid: “if I have time,” “maybe,” “if the weather allows,” or “I would like to.”)
As I write these goals out, I literally went from feeling tired to feeling empowered. These are bite size goals that represent small steps towards my long term New Year’s resolution goals.
You may have a goal to lose weight, be more active, or have more energy. If you are feeling frustrated in your journey, keep in mind, you can create an attainable SMART goal in just a few minutes.
In addition to bite size goals, try to find one pleasant activity to engage in on a daily basis. This pleasant activity may take 5 minutes or 5 hours.
Maybe it is petting your dog or cat, taking a warm shower or bath, calling a family member or friend, or just sitting in a nice chair and taking a few moments to clear your mind.
As we develop SMART goals, we become unstuck and begin to bridge the gap from frustration to achievable goals. It doesn’t matter how small or big your goals are, all that matters is that your goals are being accomplished in (hopefully) a SMART and intentional pursuit.
I would encourage you to plan for an annual visit with your primary care provider in 2019 if you haven’t already done so. This may be your first SMART goal, but during your next visit with a nurse or medical provider, share a couple of your SMART goals and pleasant activities that you have been engaging in. If you still feel stuck, frustrated, or completely lost by this exercise, feel free to reach out to your provider for help.
*Opinions expressed by KVH Contributors are their own. Managed by Kittitas Valley Healthcare, HealthNews does not provide medical advice. For medical advice, please see your healthcare provider.