There’s nothing like the turn of a new year to remind us to take stock of our lives this past year and set some goals for the new. For many of us, it’s a time to reflect on what things we accomplished, what worked and what didn’t. Hopefully it’s a time when we’re not too hard on ourselves — after all, we can only do our best. For many of us, this is a time of year when we want to get our health and fitness back on track from the “mini-vacation” we’ve been on over the Holiday season.
Tips for starting the New Year off right:
1. Set a Date. Let’s face it, your “New You” New Year will probably start AFTER January 1st. If you have slipped in your healthy eating and not looked at the treadmill in weeks, chances are you will still be in that holiday mode until the last party or holiday visit is over and the last shortbread cookie is eaten! So, make those changes when you get some routine back in your life so that you’re not trying to swim upstream. For most of us, that starts a day or two after New Year’s Day.
2. Don’t just resolve, set a goal. Resolving to lose some weight, work out more regularly, put more activity in your life are all good resolutions but they won’t amount to anything unless you state them as goals. Better yet, write out your goal. “I will lose 10 lb in 10 weeks!”
3. Be SMART. Make sure your goals are SMART ones: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. So often when we make resolutions that fail because there is nothing to back them up. With a SMART goal in mind, you can then set up a plan and a schedule to reach that goal.
4. Make a Plan. To help you reach your goals, be sure to have a plan. If your goals is to lose 10 pounds, how will you do it? As long as your goal is SMART, your plan will be more effective. The plan is where the details lie. Or thought of in a different way, the Goal is the WHAT, the plan is the HOW.
“I will lose 10 lb. in 10 weeks by fast walking on the treadmill 5 days a week with an expenditure of 300 kcal. I will cut out 200 calories from my daily intake. I will set aside a specific time to go on the treadmill. I will cut out those 200 calories by having water instead of juice or pop for my afternoon break. I will have only a cup of coffee without a muffin on my morning break.”
Find an online calorie counter and look for the foods that are easiest to give up. Find an exercise activity that you enjoy or at least can endure for 30 minutes! The devil is in the detail.
5. Forgive yourself if you slip up. If you set goals instead of making resolutions, then it is much easier to get back on track if you do slip up. You may have taken a detour or slowed down a bit but you don’t have to lose sight of your goal. If your goal is still firmly in sight, then you can look at other paths to reach it if what you are doing isn’t working.
So, as you begin this New Year, think Goal instead of Resolution. Have a plan. And be SMART about it.
To your health,