Defining S.M.A.R.T. health goals
In any aspect of life, goals that produce results are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. How does this apply to a health journey that follows the keto way of eating? For this week’s Fix the Food article, the Senza team revisited our thinking on this topic. Here’s how we consider each letter of the S.M.A.R.T. strategy:
Specific: Whether it’s a certain weight, body fat percent or other state, be precise about what you want to achieve through the lifestyle changes you are making.
Measurable: Document your starting point and know how you will measure the results. The scale is the most common method with keto, but measuring inches, clothing size, body scans for muscle vs. fat, and other techniques may be more relevant for some individuals.
Attainable: Although you may want to keep an ideal weight or size in mind, try to think of your goal as a set of stairs and take it one step at a time. As one Senza user told us:
“I went in 10-lb increments, so as to not set too high a goal. When I lost 10, I reset my goal for 10 more, and so on. Until I lost 31lbs, which I felt was enough. The areas on my body that I wanted to change had changed, so now I maintain.”
Realistic: It took decades for your body to reach its current state and you cannot expect to reverse all the damage overnight. Try to approach the journey in a stair-step way, so that you see progress and stay motivated. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 10 percent improvement and then set a new goal each time you hit a milestone. The book Atomic Habits, by James Clear, is a fantastic resource for learning how to make small changes that add up to big progress.
Timely: Instead of fixating on an ideal size or shape that could take a year or more to achieve, begin with a focus on the short- or medium-term. For example, how much progress could you make in three months, if all goes according to plan? Shorter-term goals reduce the likelihood of procrastination, too. Read “The power of short term goals” for more on this way of thinking.
To go deeper into the all-important question of how to set realistic health goals, check out our complete post for Senza users, just published today on The Planet Keto Blog: Is Your Target Weight Realistic? We’ve covered non-scale victories, body composition, and other factors that influence weight loss success.