Read more: Get a Healthy Start to the New Year Part 1 ...
Set SMART goals
Goals help keep you focused on your health vision. Achieving identified goals produces a feeling of accomplishment and much-needed motivation to fuel your health journey. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-framed.
- Specific: What am I going to do?
- Measurable: How will I track my progress?
- Achievable: What steps will I take to make this happen?
- Relevant: Is this important enough to me to want to do it?
- Time-framed: When will I do this?
Your SMART goals should consist of both long-term and short-term goals. Establish your long-term goal first. An example of a long-term goal is, “I will walk briskly for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week.” However, if you haven’t been exercising on a regular basis, there is often a need for intermediary, short-term goals. For example, “I will walk 15 minutes during my lunch hour at least three days each week for the next month.” After reaching your short-term goal, extend your efforts gradually, until you ultimately accomplish your long-term goal.
Don’t give up
It can be difficult to make changes to your lifestyle, so ensure you have a network of family and friends to encourage and partner with you during your health journey. Additionally, consider keeping a health journal to record your activities and achievements, adding to your motivation and accountability.
Embracing a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing, dynamic process. Creating a health plan, engaging your support system and celebrating short-term and long-term successes are positive behaviors that will deliver benefits this year and beyond. Use the new year as an opportunity to begin the journey of living a healthier life.