August 2009 A subscription based eBulletin devoted to your Smart Heart Living.

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Sandra Thornton
Have you set your goals? I hope you'll find this issue of Smart Heart Living Bulletin helpful. If you do, share it with others!
Send us your ideas for future issues and your heart stories.
Best regards,

In this issue:
Setting personal goals for a heart healthy lifestyle

Here’s an 8 step plan and some tips for setting and achieving goals.

In the last issue of Smart Heart Living eBulletin we focused on getting motivated – specifically to eat well, to exercise, and to lose weight.

Now, autumn is just around the corner (unless you live down under!) and with it comes an opportunity for a fresh start. This issue provides tips on setting goals for a heart healthy lifestyle.

Setting personal goals can give you direction and focus. It’s important that your goals are achievable, and that they’re yours – not goals you set to please someone else.

Eight steps to setting and achieving goals!

 setting personal goals1. Identify and write down your goals.
2. Analyze what you can realistically achieve.
3. Set your priorities. What are the most important things you need to work on first?
4. Be specific. Setting smart goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and with an identified time frame) will bring greater success than vague goals. I will lose 10 pounds between September 1 and December 15.
5. Write down your action plan. This is the step-by-step plan of how you are going to achieve your goals.
6. Identify obstacles or challenges you know you will face so you can plan ahead how you are going to deal with them or avoid them.
7. Visualize the end result. Create a mind picture of having achieved your goal.
8. Celebrate your successes. It's important to reward yourself for your progress!

What goals do you need or want to set?

I want to exercise more!
September and January are the most common times for people to start new fitness programs. The sad part is many people don’t stick with them, and thus don’t achieve their goals. Here are some tips to help you:
  • To develop and maintain cardiovascular fitness, you need to exercise at least three times a week, but if you are active for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week, you can lower your risk of heart disease and control risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
  • What do you enjoy doing? Walking? Cycling? Swimming? Dance? Tai Chi? Yoga? Weights or resistance training? If you enjoy it, you're more likely to continue it!
  • Join a group or class or make a scheduled date with a buddy.
  • Vary your activity during the week to exercise different muscle groups and to keep from getting bored and quitting.
  • Write down your exercise goals and keep track of your progress. You can download the Smart Heart Fitness log.

I want to lose weight!
 weight loss for heart healthRemember you didn’t put the weight on overnight. It won’t come off overnight either.
  • Set a realistic goal to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. Identify your target and figure out how many weeks it will take to achieve your goal.
  • Avoid fad diets. They're not healthy and they're not sustainable. You may lose lots of weight initially but once you stop the fad diet you'll put it all back on, and sometimes even more.
  • If you lack willpower, join a reputable group or plan to help you keep on track.
  • Write down your weight goals and keep track of your progress. We suggest weighing once a week or once every two weeks, but not more often.
More on weight loss.
I want to quit smoking!
Quitting smoking might be one the hardest things you’ll ever do – but it’s one of the most important things you can do for your health.
  • Pick a specific date to stop. Make a firm commitment to yourself and those who love you to make it happen. Write it down and post it on your bathroom mirror.
  • Talk to your doctor. There are prescription drugs that may be appropriate to help you quit smoking. Your doctor will be able to advise you.
  • Take advantage of the smoking cessation products and programs available to help you through the process.
  • Nicotine replacement (as a transition) is available in gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, and under the tongue tablets but the most effective is the nicotine patch.
More on smoking cessation.
I want to reduce my stress!
stress management strategiesStress is bad news. The accumulated effects of stress have been shown to cause health problems, including heart disease.
  • What causes you stress?
  • Recognize what things you can change and what you can't. Then change the things you can and learn to accept the things you can't.
  • Find healthy ways to reduce your stress. Exercise is a great stress reliever!
  • Schedule some down time Many of us forget to allow ourselves some unstructured relaxation.
More on stress management.
I want to ______________!
You may have some other goals in mind. Using the 8 step process outlined at the beginning of this bulletin, set smart goals for what you want to achieve, and then go for it!

What are YOU doing this fall?

Setting and achieving any or all or any of your goals will not only help you look and feel better, but it will reduce your risk for heart disease and other health issues. How sweet is that! Good luck and let us know how you are doing. was created as a resource for those living with heart disease, their loved ones, and anyone else interested in a heart healthy lifestyle. Browse the site, bookmark relevant pages, and send us your comments!

If you're living with heart disease, share your story for the benefit of others by creating your own page on the Smart Heart Living website!