(originally posted 1/6/2016. libbysfitnutrition.com)
Happy New Year!
Kicking off a healthy year, I prefer to use the term “goals” instead of “resolutions” when planning my year ahead.
As with any goal make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based). Instead of “I am going to get a job,” a better goal would be “I am going to update my resume and apply to 15 relevant positions by May 1st.”
How about making those goals, whatever they may be, stick?
Write them down on pretty paper (or type on a fancy background) so that your goals are aesthetically pleasing.
Then post your list of goals where you will see it every day. When we are constantly reminded of our intentions it is easier to take action toward them.
Now, let’s dig into how to break down a goal into achievable steps.
1) Write a S.M.A.R.T. goal (as covered previously). Ex: I want to lose 10 pounds by May 1st.
2) Think about all the ways you can accomplish the goal. Ex: I can plan meals ahead of time, and pack a lunch for work, I can eat a vegetable at every meal, I can track my food in a journal, I can get a buddy to keep me accountable to going to the gym…
3) Pick 1-3 methods that are most realistic for you. Ex: I will start writing down everything I eat, and buy 2 more veggies when I go to the store.
4) Try it!
5) Assess what works and what doesn’t. Ex: tracking food on paper did not work, because I kept leaving the paper at home – but, I did find a cycling class I love at the gym!
6) Change things that are not working. Ex: I can use a phone app my friend raved about to track my food, and I always have my phone with me.
7) Find ways to measure progress periodically, but don’t give up if you backtrack a little. Ex: I will get on the scale weekly to see if I am losing weight, but I won’t beat myself up if the scale is not moving as long as I am following my plan.
8) When behaviors become second nature, add more. Ex: I am now going to Saturday morning class at the gym without thinking, I will add Wednesday evenings as well.
9) Celebrate! Do not wait to reach your “goal” if you have made improvement. Celebrate the little goals along the way!Ex: I went to the gym 3 days a week every week this month – I am treating myself to a massage.
Libby is a Registered Dietitian focusing on student eating disorder treatment and prevention. She is working on the central coast to create wellness in individuals and the community.
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