I like planning. I like hoping. I look forward to looking forward to new things. So, I look forward to the start of a new year. It brings the opportunity for fresh starts, opportunities for growth, and new adventures.
Pro-resolution or Anti-resolution
There are two kinds of people. Those who set resolutions and those that don't. I am a goal setter, so I usually set some goals for myself. I like to reflect on what I've enjoyed in the past and what has worked for me. Then, I include those things in my goals. For example, I was a dancer in high school, so I like to include dance classes as part of my physical activity goals. This has looked different in different life stages. In college, I took dance classes with friends at a local studio. In grad school, I took classes through the school's gym for a discounted, student rate. As a young professional, I took classes with friends at a dance school and classes at my local gym with my gym membership. Make your goals work for you - your budget and your lifestyle.
Setting Mini Goals
So you've reflected and set goals, what will keep you motivated? One thing I like to do is set short- and long-term goals. The short-term goals are like mini resolutions that help me reach my ultimate goals. For example, do you want to be more physically active? I encourage you to set mini goals to help reach that goal. For example, you could start by being physically active 30 minutes per day 3 times per week. Each month, you could increase the length of time you are physically active or the number of days per week you are active.
Set SMART Goals
I'm going to give some examples of goals. Then, show ways to make them better.
- Be more physically active.
- Run a half-marathon
- Run one mile per day.
- Use couch to 5K app in January to help me increase my running time and distance.
- Eat better.
- Eat breakfast everyday at home.
- Drink 64 ounces of water per day. Use a reusable water cup and take to work to remind me to drink water.
- Eat 3 servings of vegetables per day.
- Limit fried food to three servings per week.
The better goals have some things in common. They are SMART goals.
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
The "Better Goals" or "SMART Goals" give specific, measurable details. They are achievable and realistic based on where you are now and where you want to be. They also give a time frame or time measurement to keep you accountable to your goals. With SMART goals, you know the who, what, when, and where. Now, what is the why?
Find What Motivates You
Your motivation stems from the "why" or your reasons for setting these goals. Do you want to run a marathon or complete a sprint triathlon? Do you want to keep up with your kids? Do you want to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol? Ask yourself why am I setting these goals? Write it down. Keep it in a prominent place. This will remind you of your resolutions and keep you motivated to continue to work on your goals. It usually takes 21 - 66 days to develop a new habit. So, buckle down, and keep at it for 1 to 3 months. Then, it should be easier. You can do it!
I also think small rewards can be helpful to achieving goals. Just make sure that your rewards do not contradict your goal. So, don't reward yourself with "junk food" when you're trying to eat healthier.
In college, money was tight. So, I "paid" myself for working out. I can't remember the exact amount, but let's say it was $1 for every workout. I "saved" this work out money to buy new tennis shoes, since my tennis shoes were wearing out. This was motivating to me because I earned the new shoes. The new shoes were cute and comfy which encouraged me to work out. It's a winning cycle!
You can reward yourself with a massage, a new movie, a trip, spending time with friends, trying a new meal delivery service, or a new book. Think of something that fits in your budget and motivates you.
Prepare for Roadblocks
Changing habits or building new habits takes work. There will be difficulties. You could get sick and not be able to work out. You could move and need a new gym membership. That's life; there are roadblocks you will need to overcome. I encourage you to be flexible and continuously evaluate your goals.
Evaluate Your Goals
Sometimes we set inappropriate or unachievable goals. That's OK. If you are making progress and healthy changes, that is a win! Think about how you can change your resolution to be more achievable or timely and still progress toward your goal.
If you do not meet your goal or resolution, are you a failure? No, you tried! So, don't beat yourself up. Goals should be constantly evaluated. If you wanted to run a marathon and you only completed a half marathon, are you a failure? No, you made progress. You became more physically active. You invested in your health and well being. Since you've run a half-marathon, now you goal could be a marathon or another half-marathon. Keep at it!
Share Your Goals
People are more likely to keep goals that they are accountable for. You can tell a friend or family member your goals. You can set reminders in your phone or calendar. You can post your goals to social media. You can tell your dietitian your goals. Just tell someone!
I will be sharing my goals and progress over the year. You are welcome to comment with your goals and progress as well.
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(image source: Google Images)
(image source: Google Images)