It’s hard to believe that 2015 is over already. Every year, I’m more amazed at how fast the time has flown by. It’s a fact, the older we get, the quicker the time goes by. It also can leave us scrambling to stay on track when it comes to goals and resolutions that we set for the calendar year. What were your New Year’s resolutions for 2015? If you’re like most Americans, it had something to do with eating healthier, exercising more, and losing weight.
If you managed to stay on track – congratulations to you! However, sticking to a new habit can be tough. For many people, the real work starts a few weeks after the holidays, as your initial motivation wears off and life returns to its normal pace. Most of us find it a bit difficult to keep our goals in focus and our motivation strong after the holidays subside and we return to a normal schedule. Sticking to a new habit is certainly one of the toughest things we can do, and the real work starts a few weeks after the holidays. Hey, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
It may not be easy, but it is certainly possible to make healthy changes that you can stick to. So, set yourself up for a successful 2016. To be realized, your goals should be specific, and most importantly, realistic.
Step One: Set a Goal
New Year’s resolutions are a great thing and anyone that takes initiative to better their health is doing something that’s not only good for them, but for the people that care about them as well. However, I’m admittedly not crazy about the term resolution. I prefer to call them goals. I’ve found that the more specific you can make goals, the better chance of success you’ll have. Declaring that you will simply walk more in 2016 is fantastic, but not specific enough to ensure that you’ll follow through on a daily basis. A better plan would be to say that you’ll walk for 15 minutes each day when you wake up or at lunchtime.
Your goals also need to be realistic. If you haven’t been active in quite some time, it would be completely unrealistic to say you’re going to start walking 10 miles a day and lose 5 pounds each week. Start with something specific you know you can do….even if it’s just once around the block and a pound lost each week through the end of January. As your fitness improves and February rolls around, you can increase the distance you walk each day and set a new goal. Keeping your timeline short for achieving these smaller goals will help you stay motivated and focused.
When thinking about your goals, there are 3 questions you should ask yourself:
- What do you want to change?
- What is the overarching goal that will effect this change?
- Where, specifically, do you need to start to get on the right track to achieving this goal?
Remember, don’t try to change too much at once!
Write your goals down and put them somewhere visible. This will serve as a reminder to keep you feeling accountable and motivated.
Step Two: A plan of attack
Once you know what you want to achieve, it’s time to craft a specific, yet simple, plan that will work for you.
When will you start?
When creating a plan, you need to consider a few different things:
Do you need anything before you start working toward your goal? For example, if you’re going to start walking each day, make sure you have a good pair of comfortable shoes that fit your feet well.
What obstacles might you encounter and how will you deal with them when they arise. Make sure you have a back-up plan if a barrier to your success pops up. Always keep in mind that temporarily losing motivation or missing a day is not failure. Just make sure that you get back to your routine the next day.
Step Three: Just do it
Once you know what you want to accomplish, get after it! Come up with an easy way to track your progress that makes sense for your goal, such as keeping an activity or food log.
Keep pushing yourself. If your new habits have become second nature, step it up a bit. If your goal was to start eating at least a serving of vegetables at every meal, try expanding on that. Substitute a handful of almond as your daily snack or replace your daily cup of coffee with green tea. Pretty soon, you’ll be forging new healthy habits that will stick just like the first one did!
Finally, if you’re doing well with your goals, give yourself a pat on the back. Treat yourself to a massage or tickets to a show. Stay within your means, but make sure you are enjoying your successes. Some days, it will feel like a chore, but it should be a fun and rewarding process overall!
Resources for Success
I love the Map My Fitness app! You can log over 600 different types of workouts; record GPS-based activities to view detailed stats. Easily connects to all of your devices to import and analyze all your data in one place.
If you are looking for the basics of healthy eating to control diabetes, check out the Create Your Plate plan from the American Diabetes Association. It's a simple and effective way for both managing diabetes and losing weight
For more help planning meals, try using the MyFoodAdvisor Online Tool. This tool allows you to look up the foods you eat and track your meals. You can also use it to identify healthier alternatives to the foods you are currently eating.