As 2014 is quickly coming to an end and the holidays are wrapping up, it’s time to start thinking about those New Year’s resolutions! 2015 marks a clean slate which is a great time to think about changes to make for a healthier you. Typically, most resolutions involve something related to health, whether weight loss, staying fit and healthy, or quitting smoking but there are many others to choose from. Approximately 40% of Americans make resolutions however only 8% keep them. Here are some tips to help you accomplish your New Year’s resolutions.
1. Set short-term and long-term goals. A good example of a long-term goal would be to lose 25# in 6 months but what short-term goals do you need to set and accomplish to get to that 25# weight loss? Does that mean exercising or eating more fruits and vegetables? Setting too high of goals initially can set you up for failure. Make sure goals are SMART goals. This means that they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
2. Make goals Specific. This should emphasize what you want to happen and should be clear, and easy to answer the following questions. What are you going to do? Why is it important? How are you going to do it?
3. Make goals Measurable. How are you going to make sure that you can accomplish and are successful with your goal? An example of a measurable goal is: “I want to exercise for 15 minutes, 3 days/week.”
4. Make goals Attainable. Goals need to stretch you out slightly so you feel like you can accomplish them but that they will still take a commitment to be successful.
5. Make goals Realistic. Goals should be “do-able” and include devising a plan or way of getting to that goal. Can you really run a half-marathon in a month when not currently exercising at all?
6. Make goals Timely. Set a timeframe for achieving your goal. Would you like to accomplish your short-term goal in one month, two months, six months?
7. Once you set a SMART goal, stick to it! Experts say it takes 21 days for a new activity to become a habit. If you can keep your goal for three weeks, chances are it will start to become habit. If you have one bad day, don’t beat yourself up about it. Make sure you get back on track the next day.
8. Use the buddy system. Have a friend who has the same or similar goals to yours? Make sure you hold each other accountable and keep each other on track.
9. Find smartphone apps or devices that will help you keep goals. Get a pedometer and track steps or use a free nutrition app on your phone such as the MyFitness Pal to track intakes, exercise, and goals.
10. Have you reached your goal? Congratulations! Don’t forget to reward yourself with a non-food based item such as a piece of clothing, a massage, or a golf outing. After reaching your goals, reevaluate and set new goals.
With these tips you should be on your way to a healthy and Happy New Year!