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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Years Resolution - Goal Setting

Here we are again...it is a new year, we have a clean slate, this is going to be our best year yet!  Do you find yourself saying, "I'm really going to stick to my New Year's Resolution this year."?

As a wellness professional, each year I look for a way to keep the enthusiasm you have right now for your new years resolution all year round.  Motivation is at its height right now, but unfortunately 2 weeks from now it will drop a little, and then by the end of January it will be done for most, maybe a handful will hang on until Valentines and a few will actually adopt a healthy lifestyle habit or drop a negative one.  This may sound very pessimistic but I've spent the last decade watching this vicious cycle occur over and over and over again!  

My best advice to you all is to stop making pressuring goals of measurable weight loss and/or inches lost; stop trying to change everything that is wrong with you all in one month; try not to be so critical of your physical appearance, bad habits, etc and focus on what you do have that is positive in your life; and focus on these goals year-round and stop waiting until January of every year to do something about them.  

This next statement could be the most critical piece of information I will share through my decade of watching people fail their new years resolutions.  Are you ready?!  Make your changes behavioral.  You want to lose weight?  Try not to focus on the scale and instead try to establish regular physical activity on a daily basis or eating the appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables per day (substituting out unhealthy calories).  Why?  Even if you fail to lose the amount of weight you had dreamed of, you are still adopting healthy lifestyle habits that will enhance your overall wellness and health.  Keep it simple and you may just have some success this year!  

Below are some other tips to help you with your new years resolution goal setting.  I highly suggest writing them down and making an action plan for them.  These tips apply even if your resolutions are not health related:

Goal Setting
  • Set realistic goals 
    • Example:  losing 10lbs in one week is not realistic or healthy
    • Make your goals attainable because once we experience success we want to keep going and sometimes achieve more than we expected.  Set them to high = failure = throwing in the towel.
  • Be specific
    • What specifically do you want to achieve?  We need details!!
  • Commit to goals 
    • If you are not committed stop here...people who achieve results commit!
  • Make a plan of attack to achieve goals 
    • You need an action plan of what you are going to do to achieve these goals.
    • Write your plan down (paper, iPad, any place you can see it)
  • Reevaluate often
    • Sometimes things don't work out or if you are lucky you experience more success.  Make sure you reevaluate your goals so they are in line with your goals, wants, and needs.
Ask yourself these questions before determining goals (exercise is used as an example goal here, but you can apply them to any goal you have)

1.     Why are you currently exercising or why do you want to exercise?
2.     What motivates you to exercise?
3.     What activities do you like?
4.     Do you enjoy exercising?
5.     Can you commit to regular exercise?
6.     How do you schedule and organize your day (including exercise)
7.     Do you make a reasonable effort to exercise?
8.     Do you avoid missing workouts?
9.     Do you feel good after a workout?

Best of luck with your 2013 resolutions,

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