Go For the Goal
Well-executed, long-term lifestyle goals are more successful than vague New Year’s resolutions.
The New Year is a clean slate, an open calendar and the opportunity for change. New beginnings are exciting, and resolutions, so it seems, are a great way to step into a healthier way of life.
So, inspired to improve wellness and achieve better balance in all areas of our lives, we jump in with all the gusto we’ve got ready to tackle it all.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, quit smoking, reduce stress or start an exercise program, New Year’s resolutions offer up the best of our intentions. But all too frequently we start the journey ready and inspired, only to find come February 1st, our focus has shifted and our energy depleted.
All About Goals
What if this year is different? What if this year, you couple your intentions with a strategy to move you forward successfully day by day?
Studies have shown that those individuals who turn intentions into specific goals (which are much more action-oriented) are more likely to achieve their objectives, especially when life presents roadblocks. And it all starts by setting realistic, achievable and well-defined goals.
A Winning Strategy
The following is a step-by-step look at how to best begin accomplishing your goals:
- Decide what it is you really want to accomplish and write it down. “I want to get my life back in balance” is too big. Break it down into smaller parts. Do you want to quit smoking, lose weight or start a running program?
- Keep it realistic and achievable. Remember that you are changing habits and creating a new lifestyle. Is it realistic to lose 50 pounds by spring?
- Be specific. Example: “I will lose 15 pounds” versus “I will lose weight.”
- Create an action plan. Include dates and keep goals measurable. Example: “I will lose 1 pound per week for a total of 8 pounds by March 31st.” Utilize tools designed to bring additional structure such as a food diary, personal journal or an exercise log.
- Keep your goals visible and review them frequently. Post them on your refrigerator, on the mirror where you get ready in the morning or at your desk at work. Change where you keep them, if you stop “seeing” them.
Once you have established your goals, keep momentum going by sharing them with your family and friends. This creates accountability and improves your odds of success. Don’t forget to laugh, have fun and enjoy yourself. Feed yourself with positive thoughts and surround yourself with people who support the changes you are making.
Ultimately, it’s about believing in your ability to change and then deciding, everyday, to do something that moves you closer to your goals and keeps you on track. Author Scott Reed speaks to the power of perseverance when he said, “This one step — choosing a goal and sticking to it — changes everything.”
Heidi Kramer is a nutrition specialist and inspirational speaker who has inspired thousands to lose weight, change bad eating habits and become champions of their own health for more than 20 years. Kramer is available at Cary Physical Therapy for individual counseling and group programs. Reach her at 847.516.9038.