Start to Be S.M.A.R.T

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The National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences recognizes the month of March as “Living Well Month”. What does that mean?

Raising kids, eating right, spending smart, living well—that’s the theme of a national Living Well Campaign that is being promoted by the Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, both at the national level and here in North Carolina. The goal of the Living Well Campaign is to provide people with the education and information they need in order to live as happy and healthy as possible.

“Living Well Month” is also about expanding the reach of Family and Consumer Science educators by celebrating the work that they do. Our profession leads us to provide educational services to improve the lives of individuals and families in our community. The North Carolina Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences works through the NC State Cooperative Extension to offer all kinds of information that will help families achieve a positive, healthy lifestyle.

You can take steps each month to make it a “Living Well Month”. To live well takes on every aspect of a person’s life. As educators, we recognize the diverse need for focusing on achieving set goals to improve different areas in our lives. Conversations about health should cover all eight dimensions of wellness including: physical, mental, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, social, and spiritual.

When you achieve a physically, psychologically, socially, and emotionally strong family unit, it provides strength for future generations. There are many ways you can start to improve areas of the eight dimensions of wellness.

Here are just a few: Moving more throughout the day, increasing your water intake, starting an at-home garden, trying a new fruit or vegetable, learning a new cooking technique, joining or starting a book club, staying on track with finances by building a budget, and maintaining a healthy home with weekly cleaning goals and checks.

How to be S.M.A.R.T in establishing Living Well monthly goals:

S: Is the goal Specific in what you want to accomplish?

M: Can it be Measured by a time, or a specific change?

A: Is your goal Attainable or is it too extreme?

R: Can you Realistically reach your goal when considering your resources/time?

T: Does your goal have a Timely date of completion?

Let’s see a S.M.A.R.T goal in action.

You may be feeling energized by the recent change in the weather with the light breeze and increased sunshine. This may lead you to say “I want to start moving more”. Now this is not a very specific or measurable goal so you need a dive deeper into the value of your new goal.

S: “I have started to notice I am sitting down too much during the day. I want to start moving my body more by walking for half of my lunch break. This is important to me because it will boost my mood, allow me step away from the computer screen and will benefit my health.”

M: “I get an hour for my lunch break and I want to walk for the first thirty minutes of my break. I would like to do this for 3 days per week.”

A: “ Three days seems doable for the first step of achieving my goal. We have a park right down the road or I can map out a safe walking pattern in our parking lot. I will need to plan ahead to have a pair of exercise shoes at the office.”

R: “This is realistic because looking ahead at my schedule I see that I can step away from my desk on my lunch break for at least 3 days in my work week.”

T: “I would like to track this progress for the next month. After that month I will reflect on if I have achieved my goal or if I need to add another S.M.A.R.T step to prevent any obstacles”

Setting a S.M.A.R.T goal is a great way of being mindful with what you are trying to accomplish so you can be confident in your ability to implement these improvements.

Make each month a “Living Well Month ” to propel your goals from a fleeting-thought to a lifelong habit.

N.C. Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on nutrition, health, food preservation, and food safety in Lee County please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Ashley Beard at 919-775-5624.