It’s that time of year again; time to evaluate all that you accomplished in the last 12 months and start looking ahead to 2011. What do you want to achieve? Whether your goals are fitness, weight, or health-related, by setting realistic and obtainable goals you can increase your chances of success while improving your overall health and well-being. Here are some tips on how to set and manage your New Year’s resolutions.
Start with the Big Picture
By the end of next year, what is it you want to achieve? By starting with the main goal, you can give yourself a focus point to work all of your other goals around. Consider your big picture goal the reward for all the hard work you achieve, and it will keep you motivated to get through the smaller (and sometimes more difficult) milestones. Your big picture goal could be to run 6 miles. Obviously it will take some time to work up to that amount, so you will need smaller goals to get your there. Or your goal could be to lose 20 pounds, which will require some changes to your diet and fitness regimes.
Break it Down
Once you have your big picture goals in mind, you can start setting smaller milestones for each month or week, whatever you think will work best for you. If you have a fitness-related goal you will need to start small and work your way up. For the 6 mile example above, you could start the first week by walking one mile twice, and the following week start a walk/run interval for 1-2 miles. Starting small helps to keep the final goal realistic (you couldn’t just step out your door and run 6 miles without hurting yourself). For a weight loss goal, you may want to start by joining a club or by meeting with a nutritionist. You can also start adding regular exercise to your schedule to increase your chances of success, join a gym, and throw out all your junk food.
Everyone has setbacks on their road to improved health. You may pull a hamstring and not be able to run for a few weeks, or get sick and not be able to follow your diet. Don’t let these minor setbacks pull you off course. As soon as you can get back to it and you can still achieve your final goal, albeit you may need to work a bit harder. Another key is to find alternatives when you have a setback. If you can’t run, can you swim? If you are on vacation, can you still follow your diet for 2 out of 3 meals per day? Find alternatives wherever you can and you can still stay mostly on track, which will result in a more positive outcome.
Just because it isn’t January 1st yet doesn’t mean you can’t get started! Go for a walk, eat a piece of fruit, or just think positively. The little steps you take today will lead to big results down the road.
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