Did you start the New Year with the best of intentions only have it all fall apart by the end of January or earlier? Whether you start the New Year with plans to revamp your life or you use another date to set goals, such as your birthday or anniversary, here are a few tips to help you stick with your goals.
1. Set manageable goals
Break goals down into manage increments. Deciding to lose 50 pounds is a daunting task. That may be your ultimate goal or your healthcare provider’s goal for you but broken down into five pound increments is much more doable, Achieving some weight loss brings motivation to keep going. Success is it own reward. After the first five pound loss you will be more eager to press ahead. After ten pounds you start to notice changes in how your clothing fits. Waist bands may not be quite so binding, shirts not so tight. Your body begins to feel better. Breathing is easier and knee pain may diminish. It’s easier to get out of the car or off the couch. So tackle those pounds one pound at a time. Increase weight did not go on over night and so give all the changes you are making time to work.
2. Work with a fitness partner
Sharing your goals with another person will not only make you accountable but can provide needed support and encouragement. Your partner might be a friend, family member, or work place associate. Look for someone with like-minded goals or someone who has succeeded in the same areas. If your goals are to increase your walking distance to 3-5 miles, teaming up with an ultra marathoner might not be the best match. Look for someone who values your opinion in his or her quest to get fit. Check in with your partner often. If you don’t feel like walking they will drag you along. If they are discouraged you can cheer them up. And take your partner grocery shopping, so you avoid the ice cream isle!
3. Utilize the latest technology
Why not take advantage of what is available to help you keep on track with your goals. I remember writing everything down that I ate. And then getting out calorie-counter books to look each food item up and record the calories and nutrients. Then I would discover in the evening that I had way exceeded my calorie goal. It was so time consuming I would last about a week. With the advent of electronic diet diaries all of the nutrients are calculated for you. It remembers what you have eaten before and you can check it during the day so you don’t over eat. You can set goals for carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Most of the programs for smart phones are free.
Along with the diet is an electronic exercise tracker. Steps, miles, and sleep are tracked. Many of them rely on technology to step count so you don’t have to set it up like old pedometers and be out on the driveway measuring your stride length.
With all of the planning in place you are now ready to embark on your journey to wellness.
Ellen Lang, RN, MPH
Advice is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. Contact your healthcare provider before embarking on a new exercise program or diet plan.