Healthy Heart Tip: Get SMART about your heart - Heart Research UK
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Healthy Heart Tip: Get SMART about your heart

14 December, 2018

 

Thinking of the New Year ahead? Set off in the right direction this January. Whether it’s to eat better, get more active or just get generally healthier this year, we’ve got lots of ideas and tips to help you set your own goals and start putting your heart first in 2019.

 

Make your own goals. Think about what you want to achieve, and go out there and make it happen. Goals are much easier to keep to if they are SMART and written down in your own hand writing. Get yourself a diary or write on pieces of paper and stick them up on the fridge to remind you. Don’t leave it until Monday- start today.

 

So what are SMART objectives and how can being SMART help you achieve your goals. Read our Healthy Heart Tips below to find out:

 

Specific – Instead of ‘’I want to cut down on alcohol‘’, you’re much more likely to achieve this goal if you’re specific about when and how much. For example; “I want to have at least three alcohol free days each week and not exceed the low risk guidelines. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my dry days and I’ll have no more than six medium glasses of wine in total each week.”

 

Measureable – ‘’I want to feel great in my swimwear’’ might be a motivating factor for you if you have a holiday booked in 2019, but feelings aren’t measureable, they fluctuate. How will you know when you’ve reached that point? To keep your heart and waistline in check, you could use cms lost around your middle as a quick check and go for less than 90cms if you’re a man or less than 80cms if you’re a woman.

 

Achievable – By setting yourself a goal too high, you set yourself up for disappointment and are more likely to feel that you’ve failed and eventually give up trying. If you’re trying to give up smoking, it’s probably best not to go cold turkey on 1 January but try a practice quit. Then plan what smoking cessation techniques you will use, how you will cope with cravings and what triggers you need to avoid to prevent a relapse.

 

Realistic – If you’re a full time carer or work difficult shift patterns, cooking fresh meals every night might not be realistic. Be kind to yourself on your free days and just try something new. If for example, you enjoy a takeaway at the weekend, then aim to reduce your portion sizes by splitting your dish between two and make some healthy swaps like going for boiled rice instead of fried rice or chips.

 

Time measureable – Set a goal date and make sure your goal is realistic for the time frame allowed. For example; ‘’I will complete a 5km race in less than 40 minutes on (insert race date) “ or why not train for the Great North Run in September to really keep the momentum going? Not only does committing to a date keep you motivated but it also means you can give yourself a reward at the end, knowing exactly when you’ve crossed the finishing line.

 

These tips are just examples to help you on your way. Only you can set your goals; what do you want to change in 2019 to lead a healthier, happier, longer life?