Setting the goal is just the first step. Know where you’re going, what resources you’ll need, who can help and — most importantly — what Plan B is when life throws a monkey wrench into Plan A.
Set short-term (one to six months), midterm (six months to two years) and long-term (two to five years) goals.
Short-term and midterm goals are those that get you to your long-term objective ― the ones you meet along the way.
Short-term and midterm goals should keep you excited, motivated and on-target. They should provide achievable objectives that bring you closer to your long-term goal.
Be S.M.A.R.T. about your goals
Specific – Write down exactly what you want to accomplish and how you’ll get there. “I want to lose 10 pounds. I will go to the local gym three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. I also will download an app that will help me track my food intake.”
Measurable – Measuring your progress along the way will keep you motivated. “I will weigh myself on Monday mornings only.”
Attainable – Identify if you can attain this goal. Is your attitude in check? Can you pay for a gym membership? Are you physically healthy to pursue this?
Realistic – In other words, your goal must be something that you are ready and able to work toward.
Time-restrained – Put a time limit on that goal. “I will achieve this by (month, day), which is three months from now.”
Identify a role model
Talk to someone who has worked toward the same goal that you are working on. He or she can help share experiences. Whenever you feel like throwing in the towel, talking to your role model can help you through a difficult spot of the journey. It can revamp your motivation.
Enlist the support of family, friends and coworkers! Oftentimes, having a team with the same goals as you can help ensure success. Meet that support person at the gym or promise to eat lunch together at your workplace so you’ll pack a lunch. They can hold you accountable in exercise and a healthy diet.
Be prepared for relapse
Not every new journey will go perfectly as planned. You may get sick and miss the gym. You may eat an extra cookie from the work lounge. Do you just give up? No way! Learn from the experience and get back on track with even more enthusiasm. Relapse does not invalidate the efforts that have been made to date.
Identify and eliminate barriers
The best way to avoid continued relapse is to remove yourself from high-risk people, places or stressors. Go for a walk during the lunch hour. Keep your food diary close, in your desk, purse or kitchen, reminding you that if you eat it, you write it! Pack your gym clothes in your car, which may prevent you from going home and flopping on the couch.
Whatever your health goal this year, I wish you the best of luck!