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By March, many of us have long forgotten the New Year’s resolutions we made back in January. The diet, exercise and other promises we made seem long ago and far away. The responsibilities and demands of daily living often get in the way of our best intentions.

However, it’s never too late to start again, and many people often use the S.M.A.R.T. goal approach when goal planning. It’s worth considering:

• SPECIFIC. Make sure your goal can answer the who, what, where, how, and when questions. Who, besides yourself can help you attain your goal? What, exactly, is it that you want to accomplish? A goal of “eating healthier” is too general. A more specific goal would be “research good nutrition and create daily and weekly healthy, meal plans.” The where would be the places and locations where you would be practicing the new goal. The how can include the sources of help and support you might want. And the when is critical, too. Is it now? Or do we need more time before making any major changes in our lives?

• MEASURABLE. It’s important to regularly check our progress. We need to take an honest look at where we are on a regular basis, and it helps to have a few target dates. Also, write down your goals to make them more real.

• ATTAINABLE. We need to define the steps, resources and motivation that are necessary to bring our goals into reality. Are our goals within our reach and within our resources? If not, we can change them or create new ones that will bring us the results we desire.

• REALISTIC. We need to be honest, reasonable and practical about the goals we choose. How badly do we really want to achieve them? Are we really committed? Also, we need to be honest about the goals we select. For example, we may want to lose weight to look like a model, but that may not be practical, given our physical build, age, etc. The goal of attaining a healthy weight might be a better, more realistic goal.

• TIMELY. Open-ended goals are more difficult to achieve. A sensible time frame produces better results. We don’t need to create unnecessary pressure on ourselves, but if we really want to reach our goals, we have to make them happen in a reasonable amount of time.

So, if you’ve haven’t yet achieved the goals you set in January, begin again or begin anew. And, now, with a little insight into how best to achieve those goals, success is more likely. Happy New Year … beginning today!

• Kathy Brown is an Ahwatukee health and life coach. She has a Master of Counseling degree from Arizona State University, a certification with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Holistic Health Coach, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Health Coach with the American Council on Exercise. Reach her at, (602) 320-7325, or

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