How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? For many of us, it’s easy to feel like we’ve “failed” even before we get through the first week of January. This happens, in part, from setting goals that are too vague or too big. Here are a few ways you can improve your list – and improve your probability of success.
To get to the nitty gritty of goal-setting, be as specific as possible. Instead of stating that you’d like to make healthy lifestyle changes, clarify what exact changes you wish to implement. That will help you stay on track. Let’s say you want to make healthier food choices. Do you simply need to tweak your current diet or does it need a complete overhaul? Taking a closer look, perhaps you’d benefit from finding out what foods have a negative effect on your health.
Breaking down your health goals into “doable” chunks is like writing an outline for a term paper. You get to create your own path of how to achieve your goal. Using the example of food choices, here’s what your specific goal list might look like.
Setting the goal of making healthier food choices:
A) Keep a food journal of what I’m currently eating,
B) Review & compare my meals to healthy-eating articles in books & magazines,
C) Buy or borrow a healthy book/cookbook to kickstart my meal planning ideas,
D) Jot down new, healthier foods I might want to try and how to prepare them,
E) Take my new meal planning menus to the store or farmer’s market for reference.
(As an aside, I’d like to recommend one of my favorite books that’s become a staple in my kitchen. Food that Helps Win the Battle Against Fibromyalgia: Ease Everyday Pain and Fight Fatigue, by Deirdre Rawlings has wonderful recipes as well as great information. It includes detailed nutritional statistics on foods that help to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia and other related chronic illnesses. You can find her book on Amazon or on her site www.FoodsForFibro.com.)
Using the above outline example, you can now whittle down your resolutions list and make specific goals for the coming year. It’s never too late to make healthier choices! Using the same system, write out your goals for making fitness changes, stress-relieving changes, and relationship changes. Specific goals are easier to measure and maintain. And, don’t forget — be sure to regularly reward yourself (in non-food ways) for a job well done!