Setting achievable goals in the new year
Want to make a New Year’s resolution that sticks? This year, instead of following the latest fad diet or workout, try something different. Make small, realistic and sustainable changes that will last. Christian Baker, MD, shared some tips to keep in mind.
Be specific with your goals.
Write down your goals and be specific with them. This can help increase your chances of sticking with your goals. Examples of some specific goals include:
- I will walk 30 minutes on Wednesdays and Fridays.
- I will take the stairs instead of the elevator in my office building at least once a day.
- I will not opt for the closest parking space when I go to the grocery store.
- I will drink one less sugary drink each week until I hit zero.
- I will lose 5% of my body weight by June 1.
- I will add at least one fruit and one vegetable to my plate each day.
Set smaller, more achievable goals to meet along the way.
It’s great to have that long-term goal, but set mini-goals to meet along the way as well. If you’re looking to lose 20 pounds, set mini-goals at 5, 10, and 15 pounds. You worked hard to lose those first 5 pounds and that should be recognized. These mini-goals will help you stay motivated along the way and keep your bigger goals within reach.
Keep track of your goals.
Now, don’t just set goals, but keep track of them.
- Keep track of your diet – the good, the bad and the ugly. You can either write it all down or use a nutrition tracker like My Fitness Pal or Lose It. For many people this is all they need, but for others, it’s just plain eye opening. You’ll easily be able to see where you are eating too much or not eating the right types of foods.
- Keep track of your activity. Again, you can use plain old pen and paper or an activity tracker. You can spend the extra money on a smartwatch for tracking, but if you download the My Fitness Pal app, your phone will double as a pedometer. There is also a space to log your exercise.
- Keep track of your fluid intake. This includes water, juices, coffee/tea, alcohol, etc. Once again, certain apps have a space for this tracking.
- Keep track of your sleep habits. What time are you going to bed and waking up? How many hours of sleep per night are you getting? How are you feeling each morning when you wake up?
Review what you have tracked.
Take a look at all of the information you tracked and see where you can make some changes. No one knows your diet, activity and life better than you do.
- Have you noticed that you binge eat when you get home from work when you’re starving? Then have a small snack before leaving work to curb your hunger.
- Did you drink more alcohol than you thought? Give yourself a weekly drink limit.
- Not drinking enough water? Give yourself a daily goal that is one more glass or bottle over what you are drinking and increase from there.
Make this year different by setting your goals, tracking your goals and reviewing your goals.