Happy (Almost) New Year! It’s hard to believe it‘a just two days from now. First off give yourself a pat on the back for almost making it through 2020! it was a tough year to say the least, and with strength you got through it. If you ended up not meeting your goals by the end of the year that is perfectly OKAY, and I promise you are not alone! The beauty of the new year is it’s a fresh start, and for many of us this can drive our motivation enough to set new goals to support our health and well-being. Now it’s not enough to just set goals, but we have to come up with a realistic plan and find a way to sustain our motivation throughout the rest of the year. This can be challenging because even though it’s a new year we often still have busy schedules; stressors; barriers to break down; life changes; etc. However, if we set our goals the right way we are more likely to stay consistent and actually meet them. Here are a few tips to support you with realistic goal setting for this new year.
Set a Vision: First think long term goals for your health. An example might be: In 6 months to a year from now I will be down 20 pounds and my cholesterol will be improved which will support me with living a longer and better quality of life where I can be around for my Grandchildren. Once you have set a vision for yourself consider jotting this down, and putting it somewhere where you will see it daily. This reminder can help with sparking that motivation again if it starts to dwindle later down the road.
Set SMART goals: SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. These are the smaller more realistic goals that will support you with meeting your long term goals or vision. An example of a SMART goal would be: Over the next 4-6 weeks I will walk for 30 minutes 3xs/week. I will do this on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:00 right after work.
Explore Accountability: If you have someone or something to hold you accountable you will be more likely to stay on track with your goals. Some examples include: an exercise partner; you and your spouse following the same eating plan; making healthy changes as a household; getting more activity outside as a family; tracking your steps or calories; journaling; using alarms or a calendar; laying out your workout clothes the night before; texting or calling a friend each week to discuss your health goals; consulting with a health professional; etc.
Have a backup plan: Life happens and sometimes this can get in the way of our routines. Having a plan B can support you with staying on track despite the challenges. Some examples include: working out another day you usually don’t to make up for the day you missed; getting a quick 10 minute walk in to get some type of movement; getting back on track with your healthy eating during the next meal or the next day; doing a workout video if it’s too cold or rainy for your walk; sitting down and planning how you will get back on track tomorrow; etc.
Reward Yourself: Healthy rewards can be a great way to keep you motivated. Some examples include: buying a new workout clothes or shoes when you meet your goal; treating yourself to a spa day; taking some “me time” to read that book you’ve been wanting to read; doing a fun date night; going on a vacation or quick weekend getaway; etc.
Have a positive mindset: Often we get too caught up on the number on the scale or the results we aren’t seeing. Consider reflecting on what is going well; how far you’ve come; and what your strengths are. For example: if you are not seeing the weight loss consider looking at other ways to measure progress as the number on the scale can fluctuate due to a number of reasons including: water retention; building muscle mass; the time of the day you are weighing; that time of the month; etc. Some other great ways to measure your progress is: measuring yourself in inches or how your clothes fit; looking at the healthy behavior changes you‘ve made; improved lab values; increased energy; feeling happier and more confident; improved stamina; etc.
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you find these tips valuable, and that 2021 is your happiest and healthiest year yet!