For many, the arrival of the New Year signifies a chance to make changes to improve their health or life. The key to making a change that sticks is to start with making one small change at a time. Start with goals you believe you can keep, overly ambitious or restrictive goals can be difficult to maintain. Unhealthy habits and routines develop over time, therefore changing these to healthy habits will also take time and patience.
When making changes it is important to start with setting goals you can commit to and then make a plan. Your plan is your roadmap that guides you through the process. Goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
- Specific: in writing, describe what you want to accomplish. Be detained, including the specific actions you will take and how long it will take to achieve your goal. For example: Your goal may be to lose 10 pounds. What date do you want to achieve this goal by and what are you going to change to achieve it?
- Measurable: when will you know you have achieved your goal. Questions such as how much or how many might be answered in this step.
- Attainable: based on the tools and resources you have available is your goal achievable? Are there any obstacles that may prevent you from reaching your goal?
- Relevant: ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal. Does it fit in with other parts of your life or does it need some revising?
- Timely: what is the deadline to complete this goal? Having a timeline for your goal helps you stick to the actions needed to achieve the goal. Consider breaking your goal into smaller goals.
After this process your goal may look like this: I will lose 10 pounds by March 31, 2019 by being exercising or being active for at least 30 minutes every day and eating a more balanced diet.
Remember, change is HARD. Set back are normal and acceptable. Just keep your goal in mind and continue working towards it.