Monday, December 30, 2013
Goodbye 2013...Hello 2014! And with a new year comes a fresh start to make some changes in life. And for a lot of us making healthy lifestyle changes is on the list! Effective goal-setting is the foundation to the success of making and keeping those healthy lifestyle changes. So we've put together 6 basic elements to help you set your goals for 2014 and start the year off on the right foot.
6 Tips for a Successful New Years Resolution
1. Be Specific - Setting goals such as "working out more" or "eating better" are to general and don't have enough substance to keep you focused. It is important that you define some very specific, detailed and measurable steps that will help you track your progress toward reaching these goals for the New Year.
Example: If you want to "exercise more" set the numbers of days per week you will work out, for how long and what will that activity be. So you might say that you will workout every morning, 3 times per week, for at least 45 minutes and it will be either the elliptical or running outside. Creating a workout calendar is a great way to help track this goal. Once you have completed the day's workout cross it off the calendar. Then count the "X" at the end of the week to see if you have worked out 3 times that week. It creates accountability and that is a wonderful way to stay on track.
2. Make It Challenging - Your goal should be realistic and within your current abilities AND should also push you beyond where you currently are.. Now it would be unfair to say that after not working out for the past 6 months that you are going to run a full marathon in just 4 weeks. It is important to set a reasonable long term goal with clear small steps that take you towards achieving success.
Example: If running a race is a goal you'd like to set for yourself that's great! Look online for one of the couch to 3K free training schedules. This is a great way to try something new that is out of your comfort zone but also challenge you enough to stay motivated and on track.
3. Make Sure Your Goal is Attainable - This is a carry-over from the Challenging tip we mentioned above. Make sure what ever that challenging goal is - that is is achievable. Don't set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are truly out of your current abilities. You can always adjust your goals and set new ones as you make progress and successfully reach each step.
Example: Trying new exercise classes is a great way to keep your workouts fresh and motivating but taking a 75 minutes hot yoga class in a 108 degree room when you haven't been to the gym in 6 months and have never taken a yoga class before might be taking it too far. It's ok to get your feet wet - try a beginner's yoga class and then when your are comfortable talk to the yoga instructor about trying a hot yoga class
4. Set Deadlines - Goals need to have time-limits otherwise they will lose priority and fade away from your daily routine. If you have set a long term goal that will take awhile to reach make sure you create short-term or intermediate-goals. Setting these smaller goals will help that long-term goal seem less daunting and keep you focused and on track along the way.
Example: If your long-term goal is to lose a significant amount of weight over a year's time, make sure you set up smaller goals that serve at check points along the way. That might be losing 1-2 pounds per week or losing "x" number of inches of body measurements. Having these check points will keep you motivated and give you the ability to focus on the moment instead of the journey ahead.
5. Keep It Positive - Keep it up beat. Instead of NOT doing things approach your goals from the stand-point of what you DO want to do.
Example: If you want to reduce the amount of junk food you eat, use positive words when setting your goal. Say you want to increase the healthy foods you keep in the house and be specific. Make a list of healthy foods you want to add to your shopping list. Post it in your pantry or on your fridge to keep you mindful of what you are eating.
6. Be Flexible - Keep in mind that setting goals are not set in stone. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances come up in life and cause things to have to change. The key is to be flexible...change...don't stop.
Example: If sprain your ankle while working out find other ways to exercise. Forgo the elliptical or running and focus on resistance training and just eliminate the exercising that involve the injured ankle. Just make the necessary adjustments to work around the injury until things are better. The important things is to adjust to the situation and don't use it as an excuse to abandon your long-term plan.
The New Year is an excellent opportunity to make the positive changes you have been wanting to make. But remember no one is perfect. You will have good days and there will be days you will struggle. Find a good support system. Surround yourself with others that understand what you are working towards and willing to help - even people that have the same goal as you. And don't beat yourself up if you have one of those bad days. Remember what they say... Attitude is Everything. And if you use these 6 tips for setting your New Years Resolution you will be well on your way to a healthier you in 2014!
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