As the New Year draws near, you may be thinking about your resolution for the year to come. Maybe your goal is to start eating healthier or to begin working out. Perhaps you want to spend more time with friends or read a book each month.
Whatever your goal is, it’s important that it’s achievable. True, you want goals that will push you to be better; however, failing to stick to your goal will only end in frustration down the road.
If you’re planning your goals and resolutions for the New Year, here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you’re successful.
How Can Setting Goals Help You Form Healthy Habits
Healthy habits aren’t formed overnight. It takes more than two months to form a new behavior on average. Setting small, attainable goals is a great way to help you form healthy habits.
For instance, if you have a larger goal of incorporating exercise into your routine, you may set a small goal of adding three 30-minute workouts each week. Sure, this may not seem like a lot, but by continuing this behavior, you will begin to train your mind and body to crave the endorphins that it gets after exercising.
If you have a goal of becoming a vegetarian, you can start with Meatless Mondays. This will get you used to creating meals without meat and force you to come up with healthy, creative recipes. As you do this more and more, you will start enjoying the taste of meatless meals and how they make you feel.
How to Set Healthy Goals
If you’ve ever worked for a corporate company, you’ve likely had to create SMART goals. These are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited. So what does this look like when you’re coming up with your own goals or resolutions?
Let’s say you want to lose weight. Be specific about how much you want to lose and set measurable goals (that are also achievable and realistic). A good example is saying you want to lose 30 pounds.
Next, you need to set a time limit on your goal. To realistically lose 30 pounds, it will take about six months. So your goal could be to lose 30 pounds in the next six months.
This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited.
Examples of Attainable Health Goals
Set yourself up for success by setting realistic health goals. Here are a few examples of goals that can help you create positive habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle:
- Set an alarm for an hour before bedtime to begin your wind-down routine
- Walk anywhere within one mile of your location
- Stop eating halfway through your meal to gauge your hunger levels
- Set physical or time boundaries for screen time
- Incorporate meals into breakfast
- Start exercising a few minutes at a time
How to Stick With Reaching Your Goals
For most people, setting your goals is the easy part. Then you have to actually reach them. By setting smaller goals that are specific and attainable, you can have great success in achieving them. Here are a few other tips to help you reach your goals:
- Write them down: Jotting your goals down somewhere can help keep you accountable and increase your chance for success. Bonus points if you keep it somewhere you’ll see it regularly like a bathroom mirror.
- Take advantage of technology: There are a number of mental health apps that exist to help you form new healthy habits and guide you through goal-setting. Many of these apps are free to download too.
- Tell others about your goals: Sharing your goals with others is one way to hold yourself accountable to reach them. For many, the thought of their goals being public can add unnecessary stress, but others may find it motivating.
- Do regular check-ins: It’s important to reassess your goals every now and then during the duration it takes to achieve them. Remember that it’s okay to make changes along the way if necessary — what’s important is progress.
- Celebrate the little things: It’s typical for progress to slow down around one month into the process. Because of this, you should reward smaller successes along the way to your big goal in order to keep yourself motivated.
- Don’t get discouraged: You will slip up from time to time along the way — and that’s okay! What’s important is how you handle these slip-ups. Take these opportunities to learn from your mistakes and then get back on track.
What to Avoid When Setting Health Goals
While there are a number of things you should be doing to achieve your health goals, there are also things you shouldn’t do.
Don’t set goals that are too lofty.
If your goal is too big, you may get too overwhelmed to even begin. Micro goals are usually easier to meet and can lead to greater success in the long run. Always refer back to SMART goals and what you can do to make them achievable.
Don’t create goals that are vague.
Setting a goal like “get in shape” is great, but it can be difficult to know when you’ve attained that goal. On the other hand, setting a goal like “get fit enough to run a 5K” is more specific and achievable.
Don’t get started without a plan.
There’s a reason why so many people are working toward health goals —they’re HARD. It might be appealing to get up at 5 am to work out, meal prep for the week, and be in bed by 10 pm, but what will you actually do to achieve this? Coming up with a plan is critical to reaching your goals.
Before starting the journey toward your health goals, you may want to speak to a medical provider to make sure you’re coming up with a plan that’s right for you.
At CareNow®, our qualified providers are ready to meet with you to discuss your goals and how you can achieve them in a way that’s healthy and realistic. We recently earned the distinction of Accredited Urgent Care Center from our industry’s association, Urgent Care Association (UCA), so you know you’re getting quality care.
We have more than 175 locations throughout the country — each open after hours and on the weekends. We also offer a Web Check-In® feature so you can wait for your appointment from anywhere.