New Year, new you!?
In my early 20’s and in the throes of dieting bandwagons and whatnot, I reveled in the chance to “start fresh” every New Year. Alas, my short-term, restrictive measures were met with failure, though, and I would retreat defeated but determined to “get on the wagon” again soon.
I highly recommend against these patterns; these unhealthy, unrealistic ones at that! Our culture breeds quick fixes and short-term solutions, but that’s not realistic OR healthy. So, whenever you decide to set a goal, try going through these 6 steps and you may just find real, achievable results that actually stick!
6 Tips to Actually Achieve Your Health Goals
1. Find your “why.”
What is motivating you to lose weight? Why do you want to eat healthier? Keep asking yourself “why,” and you’ll peel back the layers to your true, deeply intrinsic motivator. Use this to inspire you throughout your journey! Tape it on your fridge, set it as a recurring phone reminder, etc.
2. Choose a baseline measure to determine your success.
Decide on a tangible way to measure your success, and record your pre-goal measurement. For weight loss, you might decide to test your body fat percentage via a BodPod or BioImpedance Analysis. If you want to run a 5k in 24 minutes, run a 5k to test your time prior to training.
3. Have a plan and decide on small goals to get there.
There’s a reason 90%+ of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Having a plan will ensure preparedness and guidance to tackle your goal with confidence. Before you take on your goal(s), outline the realistic changes that you want to implement, and identify small baby steps to adopt every 1 – 2 weeks to get there. If you want to lose weight, you might start with walking for 15 minutes every day for 2 weeks, or eating a healthy, protein and fat-rich breakfast every morning, or tracking your water intake, or even going to bed at the same time every night.
4. Find intermittent accountability measures for each small baby step.
Once you have your master plan and baby steps decided, schedule them in your calendar and/or phone. Find accountability measures for each baby step, be it a food tracker app, a FitBit, phoning a friend every day, a chart on your fridge, etc.
5. Assess your progress.
How’s your plan working for you? If you’re not seeing progress, make an adjustment. Or, if you’re not complying with your baby steps in the first place, make even smaller ones that you can actually achieve.
6. Reject the “all or nothing” mentality.
You will have setbacks. That’s a part of life! Our culture is so into being “on the wagon” or “off the wagon,” but that’s not realistic for LONG-TERM, lifelong healthy habit adoption. Unexpected events happen, sickness happens, and work deadlines happen. When you get derailed, stay the course, focus on your “why,” and do your best to be a little bit better each day.
Happy New Year! You got this!