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Your doctor just told you that you were suffering from high blood pressure and you need to make some changes. Hypertension is one of the biggest diseases our country faces. It has become a matter of government concern. High blood pressure is the underlying cause of many other life-threatening diseases.
Besides taking any medications your doctor may order, there are many things you can do in order to reduce your blood pressure, and maybe even eliminate the need for medication. Today, we are going to take a look at nine of the top changes you can make now.
What Are SMART Goals
SMART is a system of goal-making that has proven to be one of the most successful methods available for actually reaching your goals. It is like putting a roadmap into play for navigating the path to your final destination, the successful completion of a goal.
The letters SMART stand for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. All of these components must be in place to make. There are even templates that you can use to make setting these goals easier.
Specific – A goal has to be very specific. For example, reducing hypertension is too general. It doesn't tell you how, why, and when. You need to be able to reduce your goal to include as much detail as possible for your roadmap.
Measurable – A SMART goal needs to have a way for you to measure your progress and eventual success. What will let you know if the plan you are using is working? How will you know when you have achieved success?
Achievable – You need to make your goal achievable. By breaking it down into steps, you get a better picture of whether you are being realistic, or if you need to rethink things and make smaller goals first.
Relevant – The goal has to mean something. It needs to be related to your overall main goal, or you won't see any reason to stay motivated throughout the process.
Time-bound – By giving yourself a time limit, you tell your mind it needs to start now because “someday” is about as likely to occur as “tomorrow”. When do you want to meet your goal? Be exact about when you will start and when you want to see success.
Learn how to turn your Smart Goals into habits by checking out this video:
Why Are SMART Goals For Managing Hypertension Important?
High blood pressure can do a lot of damage to you. It has been shown to be a factor in heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and even cognitive functioning. If it is consistently high, you are at a higher risk of an early death.
Controlling hypertension requires lifestyle changes. Often that involves changing bad habits and replacing them with good ones. SMART goals help you find what good habits you need to develop and give you a good base on how to meet the challenge.
Let's take a look at some important SMART goals for hypertension management.
7 SMART Goals for Managing Your Hypertension
1. Identify Triggers
“I will design a journal to start at the beginning of next week for my blood pressure. It will include entries for readings I do daily, as well as how many hours I slept and any events that are happening at the time.
This will allow me to understand what things may trigger the rise of blood pressure so that I can work to avoid those triggers. I will keep this journal for the coming three months and share it with my doctor at each visit.”
S: You list what, when, and why you will do this, as well as what you hope to achieve and for how long you will continue.
M: You will be able to measure how many days you actually make entries as stated. You will also be able to measure any changes that occur over the period.
A: Daily journal entries are completely achievable.
R: Knowing when your blood pressure is likely to be high is the first step in gaining control of it.
T: You give yourself a starting date and state how long you will continue the action, making this time-bound.
2. Exercise More
“In order to get more exercise, I will join the local YMCA. I will sign up for a weekly Zumba class there and will use their pool twice a week.
I will also plan a 3-mile walk each weekend, to be done outdoors when the weather is nice and inside the YMCA in bad weather. I will keep this up for six months and then re-evaluate the plan.”
S: You list what you will do, how often you will do each activity, and for how long. All make this specific.
M: You can easily keep track of how often you do each activity. By placing workouts on a calendar, you can keep track of the entire six months.
A: By setting aside a specific time in your weekly schedule, you can easily achieve this goal.
R: Regular exercise has been proven to reduce blood pressure, so this makes the goal relevant.
T: Not only do you state how long you will keep up this system, you specify how often each week, making this time-bound.
3. Adopt a Healthy Diet
“In order to eat more healthy meals, I will shop on Saturdays for the week ahead and pre-prepare as many meals as possible on Sundays. This will eliminate not having healthy choices on hand as the menu will already be planned in advance.
After three months, I will re-evaluate and adjust as necessary.”
S: You state what you will do, why, and when you will evaluate, making this specific.
M: By placing shopping/cooking days on your calendar and checking them off when complete, you make this measurable.
A: This goal only requires dedication, so it is achievable.
R: Healthier eating is necessary for lowered hypertension, so this goal is relevant.
T: Stating when you will shop and prepare meals, as well as when you will re-evaluate all make this time-bound.
4. Lose Weight
“My goal is to lose 20 pounds by the end of four months. Starting the first of next month, I will start planning meals that don't include fats or carbs. I will also keep a daily food journal of how many carbs and fats I consume and a weekly record of my weight.”
S: You make this specific by listing how much weight you plan to lose and in what time period you plan on doing this. You also add in weekly checkpoints, making this very specific.
M: Keeping a journal of carb/fat consumption and weekly weight makes this measurable.
A: While you can't guarantee you will lose all the weight you set out to lose, you can keep track of the food journal easily by setting aside a few minutes daily.
R: By losing as little as ten percent of your weight, you improve blood pressure, so this is definitely relevant.
T: You make this time bound by adding you will do this for four months.
5. Reduce/Eliminate Salt Intake
“On my next shopping trip, I will buy various herb and spice blends that do not include salt to use in cooking. For the coming three months, I will use these instead of salt. At the end of this time, I will evaluate my hypertension and see if this aids in keeping it low.”
S: You make this specific by stating what you will replace the salt with and for how long you will continue doing so.
M: By monitoring your blood pressure, you can measure this goal.
A: You have complete control over the success of this goal, making it achievable.
R: Reducing salt is relevant to lowering blood pressure.
T: Stating a time period of three months makes this time-bound:
6. Stop Smoking
“Starting tomorrow, I will track how many cigarettes I smoke daily. After one week, I will reduce the number of cigarettes I smoke daily by three a day, dropping three more each week. This will allow me to reduce my number by over half a pack in one month. I will then know how much longer I need to completely eliminate smoking.“
S: You state what you will do, how often you will reduce your cigarette intake, and when you will evaluate.
M: By keeping a chart, you make this measurable.
A: With consistent willpower, this goal is achievable.
R: Eliminating smoking is relevant to lowering blood pressure.
T: You make this time-bound by stating how many cigarettes you will reduce in each given period and for how long you will continue.
7. Reduce Stress
“I will start meditating every evening for fifteen minutes. I will do this for the next six months. Once this becomes a habit, I will be able to take mini breaks whenever necessary throughout the day to calm my mind.”
S: You make this specific by stating exactly what you will do, for how long, and when.
M: You can easily measure whether you do this nightly.
A: This goal is based on your own actions so is achievable.
R: Reducing your reaction to stress is relevant to managing hypertension.
T: You make this time-bound by mentioning how long you will meditate each day and for how many months.
8. Get Better Sleep
“Starting tonight, I will establish a consistent sleep schedule, monitored by alarms. I will record my blood pressure each day for six months and see if sleeping better helps.
S: You state exactly what you will do and for how long.
M: Keeping a sleep log will make this measurable.
A: With dedication, you can achieve this goal.
R: Good sleep helps you manage stress better, which is relevant to lowered blood pressure.
T: Six months makes this time-bound.
9. Limit Alcohol Consumption
“For the coming six months, I will limit my alcohol consumption to three drinks per week.”
S: You state what and for how long, making this specific.
M: It is easy to keep track of how much you drink.
A: All you need is self-control to make this achievable.
R: Limiting alcohol is essential for lowered blood pressure, making this relevant.
T: Stating a period of six months makes this a time-bound goal.
Final Thoughts on SMART Goals Hypertension
Hypertension is your body's way of telling you that you need to do something to change your life or your health is going to suffer. Knowing what causes your blood pressure to rise is the first step in being able to get it under control. And once you start getting used to the changes, they will become second nature.
In addition to the above strategies, you may want to enjoy some essential oils that help reduce blood pressure. Supplements can also be helpful for some, under a doctor’s supervision to ensure they don’t conflict with other medications.
And if you want more SMART goal ideas and examples, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 15 SMART Goals for Nutrition (Examples for Your Healthy Eating Plan)
- 13 SMART Fitness Goals Examples That Will Motivate You
- 8 SMART Goals Examples for Weight Loss
Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals.