It’s the time of year again for New Year’s resolutions, and many of us set goals for eating healthy and being more physically active. Although it’s important to set healthy goals, it’s also important to set reasonable ones. Sometimes we set unrealistic goals that we can’t achieve, and then we feel like we’ve failed.
Think of goal setting as a ladder — if you start at the top, there is only one way to go — down. If you start at the bottom, you can work your way up, step by step. The best way to do this is by focusing on realistic goals with measurable results.
One way to make realistic goals is to make them more specific. Instead of saying “I will exercise more,” make your goal “I will walk 10 minutes, three times a week.” The details will help make your goal measurable: “I will walk 10 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m.” Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t always achieve your goals — try to be flexible, instead. For example, if you plan to walk on Wednesday and you can’t, reschedule it for Thursday. You will still be making progress.
If your goals aren’t working for you, revisit them to make sure they are reasonable. If you are successful, you are more likely to focus on the positive progress you are making. Changing habits takes time — the more you make the changes a habit, the more likely you will be to continue the changes. Finally, try not to set too many goals at one time — start with one or two behaviors you want to change. Once you master those, then focus on new goals.
With these tips and a little planning, you can keep your New Year’s resolutions!