If you’re like many Americans, the start of the new year brings new goals, but all too often these goals are unrealistic. Common health goals include correcting lazy eating habits, spending a little more time in the gym, and losing 50 pounds… by March.
According to a recent study, about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, but less than half (46%) are still on target six months later. Though it may seem like the odds of sticking to your New Year’s resolutions are stacked against you, it can be done. Often, it’s as simple as setting attainable goals and making a plan to achieve them. Here’s how to make sure your goals are as achievable as possible.
Set smart health goals that you can achieve.
Effective goal setting is an extremely valuable aspect of making your resolutions stick. To do that, make sure they’re SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).
Don’t: I’m going to lose weight.
Do: I’m going to lose 1-2 pounds per week for the next three months for a weight loss total of 15 pounds.
Don’t: I want to eat healthier.
Do: I will slowly increase my intake of fruits and vegetables over the next two months to 4.5 cups total per day.
Think about why you want to accomplish your goal.
Imagine what your life might be like if you stick with your resolution. What will you accomplish by achieving your health goal? How will your life be easier? Will you feel better? Will you be able to enjoy life more fully? Clearly define why you want to accomplish your goal, then use your reason as motivation throughout the year.
Focus on only one to three goals at a time.
Avoid overwhelming yourself by trying to make too many changes all at once. Choose only a couple goals to focus on at a time, then slowly incorporate other healthy changes you’d like to make.
Go easy on yourself.
Creating a new healthy habit takes time. Don’t beat yourself up if you falter in your journey toward your New Year’s resolution. If you’re too hard on yourself, you’re more likely to give up on your goal altogether. Focus on making progress toward your goal rather than perfection.
Turning a new year’s resolution into a lifelong habit is a process, but with SMART goal setting and by following the steps above, you can be successful. For more help achieving your health goals, sign up for a health class, discover new favorite healthy recipes or attend a community event through a range of resources provided by Baptist Health.