Many people start a new year off attempting to make some type of health and wellness improvement. Often we fail to achieve these goals, or fail to realize if we achieved them or not. Sometimes we even fail to remember we made them. I am writing this as an attempt to encourage you and myself to work smarter to achieve our goals. There are some easy ways to help yourself achieve your goals.
a) Make reasonable goals. This is one reason I fail regularly. I set huge goals like "I will get up at 4:30 am and have the entire house clean by 8 am." If I would set more reasonable goal of "Get up at 6:30 and have the kitchen cleaned up by 8" I would stand a good chance of succeeding.
This especially applies to weight loss goals. I know so many people who decide they are losing 20 pounds in a month or 50 pounds between Halloween and Christmas. Experts say that reasonable weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week. Each person is different, of course. Post-partum weight loss may go more quickly, for example. But following 1-2 pounds a week makes 4-8 pounds a month much more reasonable. That still results in around 50 pounds a year, not bad if you are looking for a lifestyle change.
b) Find a way to make your goals measurable. Deciding you want to "be healthier" is a recipe for failure. How will you know if you succeed? You have no way to motivate yourself because you have no idea what success looks like. Goals such as "I want to eat 3 servings of vegetables a day" makes it easy to determine if you are succeeding and still help with your goal to be healthier.
c) Write your goals down. If you are like me, you tend to make a "mental list" of what you should do. Then it gets lost in the other mental clutter. Write down your goal. Post it in places that make sense. You can post on the front of the fridge that you want to eat three servings of vegetables. This helps focus your thoughts when you go to the fridge.
d) Set smaller chunks of time within your larger timeframe. This is very helpful if you are setting a goal to accomplish a task in a certain amount of time. For example "I want to lose 50 pounds in 2012". Set some smaller goals for such as "I want to lose 5 pounds in January." Then you can monitor your progress as you go and not get to December and realize you have only lost 20 pounds.
e) This last one is one of the hardest for me. Don't get discouraged by your setbacks. We are human and will backslide or hit roadblocks. If you notice in February that you only lost 2 pounds, then in March just get back at your plan. Don't quit. If you get to the end of the year having lost 45 pounds instead of 50, you still made a great life change. Keep your eye on the big picture and work toward the end goal, allowing your small goals to guide you, not stop you.
When we talk about getting healthier, I think it is important to keep our mental health in mind. Making and writing down reasonable, measurable goals, keeping track in small chunks of time and allowing room for forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes will help us be mentally successful in our healthier lifestyle goals. It does us no good to achieve some lofty goal if we are miserable the whole time and miserable with the results. A healthier life is supposed to add joy and delight to our years, so attack your goals in a manner that will keep you mentally on track and leave you feeling good rather than beat down.
I am linking this up with Sidetracked Sarah's Get Motivated Mondays. Check out other suggestions for a healthier you this year.