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Be S.M.A.R.T.

Learn how to make health goals that work.

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It’s always a good time to make a change for the better. Especially when it comes to your health. But what are the best changes to make? How can you keep a good change from sliding back into an old habit?

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Five key parts of setting goals you can reach

To set yourself up for success, make sure that each one of your goals is SMART:

Specific: Describe exactly what your new habit will be. For example, instead of a goal to “eat healthy,” commit to a plate that’s half vegetables or fruit at each meal.

Measurable: How will you measure your progress? “I’ll walk more” can’t be measured. Instead, find a way to track your steps. Use a smart watch or download a steps-tracking app on your phone. Set the amount of time each day you’ll walk and how many days a week.

Attainable: Make sure to have the tools you’ll need. Perhaps you want to work out but a gym membership is too expensive. Build a walking program instead.

Realistic: Get real about what you like and don’t like to do. This will help you succeed. If you hate to run, don’t train for a marathon. Don’t like the gym? Look for ways you can make the outdoors part of your routine.

Trackable: Set a start date and an end date. Choose how often you’ll do your goal activity. Reward yourself when you meet your goal.

Best of all, you don’t have to figure out your health goals alone.

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Start working on your goals today

See your doctor or primary care provider.

Find care in your state

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Work with your Optum doctor

At Optum, your doctor wants you to reach your goals. Together, you can work out which ones make the most sense for you. This includes the bigger “life” goals that being healthy will help you reach.

What about your health is important to you?

Your doctor can help you answer questions like:

  • Do you have diabetes or heart disease or another long-term medical problem?
  • What does your doctor say you should focus on?
  • What will be your top goal?
  • Don’t try to do too much at once.
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Goals can help you live the life you want

Set goals that makes a real difference in the way you live. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a trip in mind you’ve always wanted to take?
  • Is there a sport you enjoy?
  • Do you just want to feel more confident?

How does your health affect your loved ones?

What kind of promise are you more likely to keep? A goal that’s all about you? Or one that says, “I’d like to play softball with my grandkids?” Or “I’d like my daughter not to worry about me so much.” Think through what can motivate you to make a change is important.

The best part about SMART goals is that they "stick." Even a small change that lasts can make a big difference.

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.