A New Start to a New Year: Beginning with Healthy Habits
With the arrival of the New Year, there is no better time to focus on your health. Many people will set New Year’s resolutions this year, but only a few will keep them. Ready to leave New Year’s resolutions behind? Don’t give up on them yet, research shows that setting goals is still the best way to get results. People who set goals are much more likely to achieve them than those who don’t.
Having a plan and not relying just on willpower will help you be more successful in keeping your New Year’s goals. If you have struggled with a goal in the past, then it might be better to take a step back before taking a step forward. Understanding how you got where you are will help you with a plan to be successful in the future. Before setting your New Year’s goals this year, first ask yourself these questions:
- Why do you want the change?
- What is it going to do for you?
- What has been holding you back?
- What will happen if I don’t make a change?
Choosing goals that have personal meaning while also understanding the barriers or challenges that have prevented you from reaching your goals in the past will be key to your success this time around. Now that you understand your WHY, here are a few more helpful tips for setting healthy goals this New Year!
- Make it realistic. Don’t set your goals so high that you talk yourself out of them right from the start. If you haven’t exercised in the past then set a goal to begin with 15 minutes 3 days a week verses 60 minutes 5 days a week.
- Avoid All or None Thinking. Instead of eliminating all sweets, try adding more fruits and vegetables.
- Group Your Goals. Ever heard the old saying kill two birds with one stone? Well, sometimes when you are short on time this can be the best way to achieve your goals. If you want to exercise more and spend more time reading then maybe you can read while riding a stationary exercise bike.
- Be patient. Most goals in life are the process of a lot of hard work, focus and determination over a long period of time. Personal health goals are the same way. Focus on changing one small thing at a time which will lead to big results in the long run, NOT overnight!
- Reward Yourself. It’s important to reward yourself to stay motivated. When you hit a milestone, for example you hit your goal of walking 10,000 steps 3 days out of the week, reward yourself with a new shirt to exercise in or maybe a manicure.
About the Author
Jamie Athas, MS, MPH, CHES is the director of Cone Health employee wellness program.