Be SMART With Your New Years Resolutions!

| Andrew Rapacz

Making a SMART resolution is the first step to a healthier you.

Tis’ the season for New Year’s resolutions. As we turn the calendar on a new year, many of us have the best intentions of starting fresh and committing ourselves to a healthier lifestyle. Be it the start of eating healthier, increasing or starting an exercise routine, or dropping a bad habit. January is a time countless individuals try to commit themselves to a fresh start only to find themselves right back where they started by Valentine’s Day. If this sounds familiar to you or you’re looking for a place to start don’t fret! Not all new year’s resolutions are created equally. Here’s a time tested research-based framework to set a goal for the New Year with SMART.

SMART is an acronym that provides a framework for goal setting:
Specific-Measurable-Attainable-Relevant-Time Based

Specific: Goals must be specific and avoid generalization or blanket statements. Specific goals address the who, what, where, why, and how to outline the purpose and/or detailed desired outcome.

Measurable: Goals should have a defined objective desired outcome. Setting milestones on the way to the end result can be helpful to track progress and make sure you’re moving in the right direction. Attaining incremental milestones can be a great motivation to stay on track to reach a lofty or future goal!

Attainable: Goals should be realistic. Though they may require a significant amount of work, effort, or lifestyle change, setting an attainable goal can pave the way for more future successes. Setting an unattainable goal can lead to disappointment and/or discouragement.

Relevant: Your goal is your goal; it should be meaningful to you! Don’t set a goal for yourself to appease someone else, set a goal you truly want to achieve. Additionally, setting a goal that doesn’t align with your values or long term vision for yourself most likely will lack importance and significance to you.

Time-Based: Having an open-ended goal without a time-based commitment can lead to procrastination or the “I’ll start working out tomorrow” attitude. Adding a realistic time frame to achieve the goal can also help with breaking down milestones at different points on your path to success. If you know where you want to be halfway or at any point towards your end goal it’s easy to see if you’re on track or need to relook at your strategy/commitment.

Examples of Non-Smart Goals:
1) I’m going to start working out more this year. (Not specific or time-based) I’m going to eat healthier. (Not specific, measurable, or time-bound)
2) I’m going to do an Ironman next month. (Not attainable (unless you’ve already been training significantly), the time-based component isn’t realistic)

Examples of SMART Goals:
1) I’m going to run/walk the half-marathon on June, 19th by following the XYZ 6-month training program.
2) I’m going to lose 10 pounds by Valentine’s day by going to the gym 3x/week and not eating fast food.

Setting a SMART goal may seem like a daunting task, but working with an exercise professional (Personal Trainer, Certified Exercise Physiologist, etc.) can help you set an appropriate goal.

Happy New Year! We look forward to helping you.

Andrew holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota (2009) and a Master of Organizational Leadership Certificate from St. Catherine University (2016). He is accredited through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Certified Exercise Physiologist (2011).

Andrew has worked in the adaptive fitness world of neurological rehabilitation since 2009. He helped foster program growth and expansion of adaptive fitness opportunities for individuals with Spinal Cord Injury and other neurological diagnosis through Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s Activity Based Locomotor Exercise (ABLE) program, part of Allina Health, establishing Minnesota’s first and only Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network Community Fitness and Wellness Facility. He also works as a contract installer of FES products for Restorative Therapies, Inc. providing installation, education, and training for FES home users throughout the Upper Midwest. 

Additionally, Andrew serves as a Board Member of Get Up Stand Up to Cure Paralysis Foundation ( a nonprofit organization in Minnesota working to unite, educate and support those dealing with Spinal Cord Injuries and to advocate for research and the restoration of function. GUSU’s initiatives include advocating for SCI Research; community involvement through peer group and one-on-one peer mentoring; and promoting adaptive fitness.

He enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters living an active and healthy lifestyle, enjoying the outdoors through cycling, running, hiking, and gardening. When he’s not outside Andy enjoys following University of Minnesota athletics, Vikings, Twins, MNUFC, Wild, Timberwolves, and Liverpool FC; listening to music; and reading.

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