Making 2014 a Year of SMART Health Goals
Happy New Year! The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is excited to welcome you to our new blog – Kidney Today. This site offers a steady stream of information and insight delivered directly from experts and advocates addressing a variety of topics of importance to the kidney community, and I hope you will visit regularly to hear from our lineup of bloggers, including health care professionals, patients and caregivers.
At AKF, we are looking forward to a healthy and prosperous 2014, and we would like you to join us in taking steps to make this a year that is good for both you and your health. The start of a new year is a great time to evaluate progress in achieving long-term goals and also an opportunity to set new goals. While some of us thrive on making these New Year’s resolutions, others cringe at the thought. However, resolutions needn’t be daunting. In fact, small, achievable goals can have a tremendously positive impact on your life. And healthy resolutions can have the additional benefit of motivating those around you to get healthy too.
It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States are living with chronic kidney disease. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes. Additional risk factors include having heart disease, being over 60, and being of African-American, Asian American, Native American or of Hispanic ethnicity. Now, that’s an incredible amount of people at risk for kidney disease and I can guarantee that everyone who visits Kidney Today personally knows someone who fits into one of these categories. Therefore, this year, I encourage you to make the resolution to lead a healthy lifestyle because this is the first line of defense against diabetes and high blood pressure, the two leading causes of kidney disease.
You may ask yourself, “how do I begin and how can I have an impact on others?”
Taking positive steps to lead a healthier lifestyle can help protect you and the people you love from kidney disease. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in lowering your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and ultimately kidney disease.
Living healthy is attainable and easier if you set goals. To get started, think about what you want to achieve and then make SMART health goals.
SMART health goals are:
- Specific: What you want to achieve and the steps you will take to do it.
- Measurable: How you will know when you achieve your goal.
- Attainable: That your goal is possible.
- Realistic: That your goal is appropriate for you.
- Time-based: When you plan to reach your goal.
If your goal is to add exercise into your work day, then your SMART goal could be to walk up and down your office stairwell once a day for the next two weeks. Once you meet your goal, re-evaluate and expand your measurement.
Visit the American Kidney Fund Tips for Healthy Living page for more ideas on how you can make healthful resolutions in 2014 and set SMART health goals. The more individuals who resolve to live healthfully this year and fight back against kidney disease, the greater the chance of reducing the number of people who develop this devastating illness.
On behalf of everyone at AKF, we wish you a wonderful and healthy 2014.
LaVarne A. Burton is President and CEO of the American Kidney Fund.