Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
3:00 PM 14th January 2024

Healthy Heart Tip: Setting Effective Goals For Your Health

Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Tip, written by the Health Promotion and Education Team at Heart Research UK

January marks the start of a new year and it is a good time to evaluate the current state of your health. Many of us use the new year to set health related goals, which often include stopping a bad habit or introducing a new healthy one. However, a goal without a plan is just a dream and it is worth spending some time to set effective goals if you want to make positive strides towards better health. Here we outline some tips to set effective goals.

Make them SMART

SPECIFIC: ‘Eat healthier’ sounds like a good idea, but what does that look like for you specifically? It could be eating five portions of fruits and vegetables a day or increasing the amount of water you drink to two litres. Whatever it is, make it as specific as possible.

MEASURABLE: Set goals that are trackable and allow you to measure your success. For example, a goal to reduce your alcohol consumption is hard to quantify, but a goal to limit your alcohol consumption to three drinks a week is measurable.

ATTAINABLE: It can be tempting to set huge goals when we are feeling really inspired, however, it is important to think realistically and set goals that you can actually achieve. For someone who has never run before and doesn’t have a good level of fitness, setting a goal to run a marathon may be a bit of a stretch.

RELEVANT: Make the goal align with your values and longer-term health goals. Why is this goal important to you and what impact will it have on your health if it isn’t achieved?

TIME-BOUND: An effective goal has an end date, when will you achieve this goal by? Planning to stop smoking by 1st August is a time-bound goal. It enables you to plan what steps you need to take to achieve it by the end date.

Track Your Progress

It’s a good idea to write your goals down on paper or in a journal and keep track of your progress. You could break down the year by quarters and plan what you want to have achieved in relation to each goal by the end of every quarter. For example, by the end of quarter one (January through March) you will have achieved consistently drinking one litre of water a day and by the end of quarter two (April through June) you will have achieved consistently drinking two litres a day. 

To help keep your heart healthy, why not try out some of the Healthy Heart recipes from the website:

Or have a look through the Healthy Heart cookbook filled with recipes from top chefs, celebrities and food bloggers:

Heart Research UK
Proud to stand out from the crowd, Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.