Be S.M.A.R.T. About New Year’s Resolutions

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment, I realize you probably can’t think past this week, let alone think about next year. Setting goals is not a priority – getting through treatment is.

If you are lucky enough to be done with treatment, or if you are simply looking to live a healthier lifestyle to reduce your cancer risk, you may be at a point where you can think about resolutions for the approaching New Year.

Almost everyone has goals, whether professional or personal. A few years ago, I set a goal to do a half-marathon to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of my father. I love to travel, and try to go to at least two places I haven’t been each year. For me, goal-setting gives me something to look forward to, a purpose, and a focus when I need one.

Maybe you hope to lose 20 pounds in 2012? Or fit into a pair of pants you have outgrown? Maybe you want to train to walk the Susan G. Komen 3 Day?

No matter what your long term goals are, right now keep your focus on short-term goal(s) that you CAN achieve in January.

Where should you start? Keep it S.M.A.R.T!


Instead of just saying, “I want to lose 20 lbs” or “I’m going to walk more” determine an exact short-term goal. Be more specific and say, “I’m going to increase my activity by wearing a pedometer and walking 5000 steps daily during the month of January.

M =Measurable

Is the goal something you can measure? If your goal is to walk 5000 steps per day (5000 steps = roughly 2.5 miles), a pedometer will help you measure your success! If you don’t want to wear a pedometer, you could map out a 2.5 mile walking route using a website such as Running Map. Keep a daily log to hold yourself accountable!


Be honest with yourself. If you haven’t been walking in over a year, perhaps 5000 steps per day will be too difficult. Maybe 2000 steps (1 mile) is more achievable? If you aren’t sure, set your goal lower the first week, see how you feel, then reassess your goal for week two!


If you know that Mondays and Wednesdays are very hectic, then perhaps walking 5000 steps those days is not achievable. To stick with your goal, modify your plan and walk 10,000 steps two days per week to still meet your monthly goal.


Place a deadline on your goal. Set at least one short term goal (one month away) as well as long term (three to six months away) goals. January is a great time to start!

As with any lifestyle change, always consult with your physician before starting any new diet or exercise program.

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