One common theme in the new year is the resolution to get healthy. Another common theme is that those healthier lifestyles tend to revert back to the way they were within the first couple weeks to a month of the new year.
Goal setting may seem hard, but it’s really a lot easier than you think. With the right structure and mindset, it’s possible to stick to those goals well into the year (and beyond)!
Make SMART goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. When setting goals for yourself, take these five things into mind.
Rather than declaring a nebulous goal of “I want to lose weight,” make it specific. “I want to lose 50 lbs.”
Although this is better, it’s still lacking the structure that you need to be able to accomplish it. How will you measure the weight loss? Will it be from numbers on the scale? How your clothes fit? Measurements?
Next, make sure that the goal is actually attainable. Do you have 50 lbs to lose? Is there anything that may prohibit you from actually losing that amount of weight?
Along with making sure it’s attainable, you have to make sure it’s realistic. Saying you want to lose 50 lbs in a year is more appropriate than saying you want to lose it in a month. The more unattainable the goal is, the more likely you are to abandon it.
Lastly, set a time goal for yourself. Simply saying “I want to lose weight” doesn’t give you any incentive or structure to get there. There is no end date, meaning you can have this goal indefinitely. Making sure it is realistic, set a time frame for yourself and work backwards from there.
The most appropriate way to phrase this goal would be “I want to lose 50 lbs in the next 6 months. I will do so by exercising 3 times a week and keeping track of the food that I eat. I will measure my weight loss by using the same scale once a week at the same time and comparing it to my ‘before’ measurement.”
Make small changes
If you’re trying to make healthier changes, smaller is better. Overhauling your entire lifestyle can be overwhelming and leads many people back to the comfort of their old ways.
Instead of throwing away all your food, start by ADDING healthier foods like a salad with lunch and supplements like Cal-EZ for a boost of calcium and vitamin D to your regular diet, making it part of your daily routine. If you don’t normally exercise, try doing it just one day a week to start. As you make those smaller changes, you will start to feel better and you’re more inclined to keep them up and remove more of the negative ones.
Take it one day at a time
Rather than projecting into the future and thinking things like “I will always have to exercise if I want to be healthy,” only focus on today. A little foresight is important, but living in the future means you’ll be easily overwhelmed and you’re not taking in today.
Think about something good you can do for yourself today and pretty soon those days will stretch into weeks and months.
Some days are easier than others. Some days you may be energized about your goals and other days they may seem daunting. Rather than abandon them altogether, realize it’s not a perfect process. There will be ups and downs. But you should always know you deserve to want more for yourself.
If you eat too much dessert or skip a workout, don’t feel bad about yourself. Ask yourself what you can learn from it and move on. Maybe next time have a little less dessert and it’s not the end of the world if a workout is skipped here or there. There’s always tomorrow!
What tips do you have for staying on track with your goals in the new year?