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Here Are 10 SMART Goals That Will Make You Happier and Healthier

Which one will you choose today?

Smiling girl holding a cute puppy
Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

People say I’m one of the happiest people they’ve ever seen…and some people say that with looks of disgust on their faces. Some of it is a natural joy that bubbles forth out of me, but some of my happiness has been developed through calculated SMART goals aimed at becoming healthier and happier (and I believe those two things are inextricably linked).

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that’s used widely in the personal and professional development industries to describe what is probably one of the best ways to set goals for yourself.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

The goals that are most often seen through to completion have all five of these qualities.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to making goals for myself, I can use all the help I can get. So, to keep myself from getting overwhelmed during the process — or from trying to bite off more than I can chew — I ask myself the following questions:

Is this goal something specific I can start doing today to get healthier?

Does this goal have measurable results attached to it?

Is this goal something I can actually attain successfully?

Is this goal relevant to my overall goal of being happier and healthier?

Does this goal have a definite beginning and an endpoint, or deadline?

Here’s a list of 10 SMART things I do each day, or at least each week, to add some happiness and health to my days.

And you can easily start doing these things too.

Take a daily multivitamin

Most of us aren’t getting enough vitamins in the foods we eat. You can’t get too much of most vitamins, anyway, because your body expels any excess vitamins like it gets rid of any other waste product, with the possible exception of Vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are fat soluble (this basically means they can be stored in your body fat for extended periods of time).

Still, vitamin overdosing and poisoning are very rare — especially if you stick with the products that are readily available on pharmacy shelves. Those are formulated to contain vitamin amounts that are well below any possible toxic levels for most humans.

Already taking a daily multivitamin? Good for you!

Consider adding a little fun to the mix by switching to gummy vitamins. I started buying some for my kids and myself not too long ago so we can all take our vitamins together in the morning.

Sometimes, if I take a regular vitamin pill in the morning, it upsets my stomach. Gummies don’t — and they taste a lot better!

Eat more fruits and vegetables

The best way to get your daily required amount of vitamins is still through your diet. And many of the most critical vitamins (and the ones that are most often missed out on) come from fruits and vegetables.

Colorful fruits and veggies
Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

Eat the rainbow every day.

If you really can’t stand to eat your vegetables, try juice. Get your own juicer or blender, if you don’t already have one, so you can whip up your own fruit and veggie smoothies. Mix in some apples with your vegetables (especially the bitter ones) for added natural sweetness.

And skip the V-8 juice drinks, for heaven’s sake. They’re pretty yummy, but they’re full of additives and preservatives that may not be so good for you — and they’re certainly not as good for you as just plain whole fruits and veggies.

Do you eat five to nine servings of fruits and veggies each day already? Yes? Wow! Congratulations! Ignore this goal and go on to something else.

Lose five pounds

Many people make a New Year’s resolution (or a resolution at any other time of year) to “lose weight,” but not very many actually make a resolution to lose “x number of pounds.” That’s automatically going against the first principle of SMART goal setting.

Losing five pounds is NOT something you can do in a day. This would be one of your weekly goals, if you have a lot to lose. If you only have a little weight you need to lose, it might take you up to a month. From my personal experience, five pounds in a month is certainly easily attainable (the “A” principle), and it’s also more relevant (the “R” principle) than losing that much weight more quickly.

I’ve lost five pounds in a month of less fairly successfully following the free SparkPeople plan. I also did it with the Nutrisystem diet**, although that is a much more expensive way to lose weight.
**Yes, this is an affiliate link. I make a small commission if you sign up for the plan.

If you make small lifestyle changes every day (cutting a few calories here and there and stepping up the exercise a bit), you should be able to easily lose five pounds in a month (maybe even more), and you should be able to keep it off. Also, by the end of that month, you should have a pretty good idea of what works for you, so you can come up with a sustainable, healthy weight loss plan you can continue to use if you need to lose more than five pounds.

Know What You Eat and Why by Mishael Austin Witty
This is a 30-day fitness tracker I created for my own personal use, but I thought other people could benefit from it too. Click on the image to purchase. This is not an affiliate link, but if you purchase this from Amazon I do make a buck or two, since I’m the publisher, as well as the author.

Read a new book…

And keep reading new (or, at least, new-to-you) books — one each week/month/whatever your schedule will allow.

Fiction or nonfiction?

That’s up to you. Or, even better, read at least one of each every month. For 2019, I set a goal of reading 26 books — one every other week. I’ve been alternating fiction and nonfiction. So, by the end of this year I will have read 13 fiction and 13 nonfiction books.

I can definitely say this practice has improved my emotions, as well as my mind. I’ve learned a number of things and have received hours of enjoyment (and escape from life stresses) in the process.

Learn a new language

What??? I thought these goals were supposed to be easily attainable.

Well, how about this: Learn one new phrase in a different language.

For example, “I love you.”

Do you know how to say that in French? Je t’aime.

German? Ich liebe dich.

Spanish? Te amo.

Swahili? Nakupenda.

And Google makes it incredibly simple. I literally just typed in “how do you say i love you in…?,” and Google told me. It even included an audio pronunciation of the phrase.

Screenshot of Google Translate, with the phrase “I love you” in English and French
Screenshot of Google Translate; Source: Me

Try one new phrase every day…or maybe every week, if you don’t have time to do it every day. Learning a new language can help improve your memory and other cognitive functions. Plus, it helps keep your brain younger longer.

Take a 15-minute bubble-blowing break

Go to the dollar store, get a package (or several packages) of bubbles, get outside, and blow!

This is a fun, stress-relieving activity for all ages. And, if you have kids around, like I do, it can be even more fun (and you’ll probably feel a little less silly doing it).

Bubbles floating in the air over green grass, with a person’s legs in the background
Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash

Play a board game

Get away from the computer and other electronic devices for a bit and dig out your old board games. Or get some new ones if you don’t know where your old ones are.

Board games like Life and Monopoly can help you exercise your problem-solving skills. Plus, they are really fun. So, like blowing bubbles, playing a board game will help you reconnect with your inner child.

I know most board games say they are for two or more players, but you can play them by yourself. Really. As an only child, I’ve done it before. Granted, I used to make up imaginary people to play with me just so I could keep the competitive edge going, but you don’t really need to do that. Even if you only go one round, you’ll reap some (possibly surprising) cognitive and emotional benefits.

Give something away

This could be a one-time thing or a daily or weekly activity, whichever you decide to make it. And it doesn’t even have to be anything big. Give the stranger passing you on the street a stick of gum, for example.

You’ll feel better if you give something to someone else — especially if you happen to be giving away the annoying singing Christmas socks your Aunt Doris gave you (for the third year in a row).

And, if you join free auction sites like Listia**, you can actually give things away and get stuff in return. So, you’re giving and getting. You can’t beat that!
**Yes, this is a referral link. I get some credit perks if you create an account.

Say one nice thing every day

There’s enough negativity in the world today. Have you noticed?

Do your part to fight it by spreading a little positivity.

Pick one person each day — it can be the same person or a different one— and say something nice to them. Compliment their eyes, their fashion sense, their uncanny ability to sound just like Roy Orbison during karaoke — anything.

A word of caution, though, if you choose to spread the positivity in the workplace: Be very careful about saying something nice to members of the opposite sex. Today’s society being what it is, you could (unfortunately) find yourself being the defendant in a sexual harassment case or (at the very best) the object of someone’s misguided — and possibly inappropriate — romantic overtures.

Sad, but true.

And don’t forget yourself! Say something nice about yourself — to yourself or someone else. Surely you can find at least one positive thing to say, even if it’s: “Hey, I did a good job picking matching socks today!”

Your perspective will immediately change, and you’ll get an instant mood boost!

Get a pet

It’s a scientifically proven fact (well, maybe not PROVEN, but definitely supported). People with pets live longer, and they’re healthier and happier while doing it.

I’ve had a cat (or multiple cats) and/or a dog since I was born. And I don’t think I could live without a pet now. I tried it for four years in college, and it was awful. I wandered around the streets of Lynchburg, Virginia, carrying bowls of milk, trying to attract stray or neighborhood cats. No joke. I really did.

Pets are natural antidepressants and stress relievers. Which is right for you? It really depends on your living situation. Do you live in a 300-square-foot apartment? You might not want to get a German Shepherd, although they are beautiful animals. Do you have curious babies and toddlers running around? You might not want to get a poisonous snake.

You also need to keep in mind how much care you are willing (and able) to give to your pet. Some people may not be able to add a live pet to the household. If that’s your current situation, skip on down to goal number 10. Or consider getting a pet rock!

And (this part is important!) while going out and getting the pet, and interacting with the pet on a daily basis, ARE time-bound events, pet ownership is a lifelong commitment…unless we’re talking about the pet rock. Please don’t adopt or buy a live animal unless you’re willing to commit to living with that animal for its lifetime.

Now it’s your turn

I’ve shared these things that I’ve done to become happier and healthier to give you some ideas if you need some more health and happiness in your own life. And who doesn’t?

Which one do you think you’ll try this week?

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Mishael Witty

Mishael Witty

Committed to making something beautiful out of the broken pieces. www.mishaelaustinwitty.com