It’s that time of the year when we evaluate and set our health goals. Goal setting can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be. Goals help us kick off the new year and should be set throughout the year to help keep us on the path of better health.
Plan Your Success
To create a happy and healthy new year, you should identify what you want to accomplish and how you will carry out your plan. This is a very important step when planning to make positive changes that help you succeed.
Set S.M.A.R.T. short-term and long-term goals.
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Relevant
- T – Time-based
Identify at least two or three of your own short-term goals and write them on the personal goal-setting worksheet. If you have more goals, write them down as well. Remember that each goal should be S-M-A-R-T—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Setting these short-term goals will help motivate you to make the program a regular part of your life.
- I will talk to my doctor about starting a healthy eating program.
- I will buy the equipment I need and get ready to exercise within 2 weeks.
- I will schedule into my calendar 2 or 3 45-minute blocks of time for exercise each week.
- I will invite my spouse/friend/family member to join me in these exercises.
Identify at least two or three long-term goals and write them on the personal goal-setting worksheet. If you have more goals, write them down as well. Listing your goals will help you stay with the program, see your progress, and enjoy your success. (Remember to use the S-M-A-R-T technique.)
- I will do each exercise 2 or 3 times each week. Within 3 months, I will do each exercise with 5 lb. weights.
- I will lose 20 pounds over next 5 months, focusing on one pound per week.
4 Tips to Help You Reach Your Goals
- Establishing a social support network is essential for reaching your health goals. Your social support network should consist of friends, family and co-workers who know about you, your health journey and the goals you have set for yourself. They work to keep you motivated, provide support and accountability to keep you on track and moving forward toward your goal. Start by selecting a few chosen people within your social network and bring them along on your journey to a new and improved you.
- Setbacks are only temporary. If your goal is focused on eating better and you have a day when you get off track, don’t throw your entire plan out the window. Instead, recognize that you had a slip and focus on the areas where you could have made better choices. Record your strategies to avoiding slips in a journal or your smart phone and revisit them when you are faced with a similar situation again.
- Baby step your way to achieving your goals. We didn’t learn to walk in 30 days, so why should you set short timelines for yourself with big goals? Set smaller tasks that you can accomplish in a shorter amount of time that will help build your confidence toward achieving your goals.
- Stick to the plan. Set your goal date and stick to it. Even if you have some setbacks, keep moving toward your goal. There are always things you can do to modify your plan, but stay the course.