New year. New beginnings. Start fresh this year with reachable health goals, medical knowledge, smooth skin and more in the January 2018 issue of Wellness for Generations. Learn tips on starting the year off right in the article below. Or read the full issue of Wellness here.
New Year, New You?
Ah yes. This is the time of year we all decide to do better, be better, make smarter choices. But it’s a common joke that most people will not actually achieve their new year’s goals. Society almost makes it easy for us to shrug our shoulders after a week and say, “Well, I tried.” After all, your coworker, friend, and uncle all tried and failed, too, right?
Not this year. This year you’re going to do it!
But to do that, you need to change something in your approach to your goals. Here are the steps:
- Choose one goal. You may have several goals for 2018. That’s great. Start with one. Once you achieve the first, you can start the second.
- Craft your goal.“I’m going to lose weight” is not a goal. Your goal must be specific. “I’m going to lose 10 pounds in the first half of the year.” That goal has numbers and a deadline. Other specific goals to give you ideas:
- I’m going to eat one meatless meal per week.
- I’m going to organize the hall closet in January.
- I’m going to reduce the number of cigarettes I smoke per day to four.
- I’m going to only eat white pasta once a month.
- I’m going to meet with a Spanish tutor twice a month.
- Be realistic.You’re probably not going to lose 100 pounds and run a marathon this year. What smaller goal can you set and likely achieve?
- Write down your goal and your reason for wanting it. Post that note somewhere you can see it each day. The lack of real reason is why many people fail to reach their goals. For example, the smoker doesn’t really want to quit smoking. He or she just knows he should. That’s a recipe for failure. Your reason is critical: why do you want that thing? You may think, “Well, I *should* lose weight.” That’s not a reason you will find motivating. “I must lose weight for my health, so I’m around to see my grandchildren get married.” That’s better. But maybe you can come up with the reason that truly drives you.
- Tell someone about your goal. Studies show the more you tell others, the more likely you are to stick to it — mostly so you don’t have to be embarrassed later about not reaching it. We humans sure are silly, but if it works, go for it.
- Create a plan to reach your goal. How will you lose the weight or quit smoking or organize the closet? What exact steps will you take? For example, you might write down time in your calendar each day for 20 minutes during which you will sort through the closet. Or, you will schedule time during your lunch break to go to the gym. You might tackle it from many aspects. Weight loss, for example, requires a multi-pronged approach with smarter eating and more movement.
- Don’t overdo it. We all feel motivated the first week, ready to tackle our goal. Then we burn out, trying to do it all at once. If you starve yourself and try to run three miles a day for six days (after having been a couch potato), you’re going to want to give up. As you create your goal plan, write a schedule with increasing difficulty. Start small. The first week you’re going to take a walk during lunch on Monday and Wednesday, and you’re going to change one thing about your meals, like skipping dessert during the week. As you accomplish your plan each week, you’ll feel energized by your success, which will motivate you to keep going. Then, you can build on that. During Week 3, you walk during lunch Monday and Wednesday and on Friday you use the office gym for 30 minutes. Remember, you can always add more, but you don’t want to backtrack.
- Combine fun things with less-fun tasks. If you hate running, find a podcast or music you love and only listen to it if you run. Maybe you only get to watch your favorite TV show while you’re on a treadmill.
- Celebrate milestones. Motivate yourself with rewards of some kind. However, if you’re trying to lose weight, make sure your rewards aren’t sugar. How can you treat yourself for losing the first three pounds or cutting back on cigarettes?
- Find a friend/support. Many of us have similar goals. Reach out to your friends or a related support or even a meetup group. Finding a social aspect to achieving your goals may help keep you motivated.
Now, you’ve got a plan. Ready, set … goal! If you want help from our team or need some resources (such as for quitting smoking), let us know!