E I G H T S T E P S F O R H E A L T H Y G O A L S
By Katee Ice
It’s the season of resolutions and lifestyle changes – the new year! If you are like so many others, this is that dreaded time when you make plans you have little intention of keeping. And why is that? For starters, change is challenging. When you have built solid habits, your mind and body rebel against anything that might shake up the old. The problem is that not all habits are habits worth keeping. And while most of us can recognize a bad habit, it is quite another thing to break it. So where do you start? This is where healthy goal setting comes in.
Most new habits take around sixty days to form – that is only two months dedicated to changing the outcome of your life. If you are willing, there is a pretty simple formula to making your goals a reality – here’s how.
P O S I T I V E
Our brains respond to our thoughts and actions by creating connections. When setting a goal, it is important to choose something positive. Instead of saying, “I will not eat fried foods,” try instead, “I will eat fruit with every meal.” Positive thoughts create positive feelings; positive feelings create positive actions.
P E R S P E C T I V E
As you set a goal, you need to have a good perspective – this goes hand in hand with thinking positive. If you do not believe in yourself and you cannot see yourself reaching your goal, then you won’t. This is the concept of self-fulfilling prophecy; you become what you think you will become. So when you set your goal, affirm yourself by saying, “I can.” Close your eyes and picture yourself reaching your goal – then hold onto that picture until it’s your reality. Believe in yourself – this isn’t Disney, it’s just good perspective.
P E R S O N A L
Like any undertaking in life, we are more likely to succeed when it is something we want to do. When setting a goal, make sure it is one you set. If you are not ready to be healthy, no one will be able to make you healthy. Determine within yourself that this is a personal goal of your own choosing. For example, if you are not a runner, do not choose running as your exercise. Find something you enjoy and stick with it – make your health enjoyable, not a dreaded task.
P O S S I B L E
So many resolutions start with good intentions, but with a goal like, “I will lose fifty pounds in one month,” it is no wonder that people give up within the first few weeks. As you set your goal, make sure it is a realistically achievable goal. Perhaps you really do want to lose fifty pounds. Instead of one month, try a goal of six months. A realistic goal is not only reachable, but it builds confidence and encouragement rather than feelings of impossibility and failure.
P A R T I C U L A R
By this time, you have a goal – but how will you reach it? This is where the particulars come in. It is not enough to say, “I will do this,” you need to know how to do it. Continuing with the goal of fifty pounds in six months, you need specific steps to reaching your goal. In this case, a good diet, consistent workout, and accountability partner would be great specific steps to reaching this goal. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – but it was built brick by brick.
P R O A C T I V E
Once you set a goal, you must determine to be proactive. Being proactive means “creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.” Take charge of your goal and be the one to determine your success. The more distractions you allow, the less likely you are to be in charge – and the more reactionary you will become. As long as your goal is positive, has perspective, is personal, is possible, and is particular, being proactive is just a matter of putting your plan into action staying on top of it – and you can.
P R O G R E S S
After all is said and done, it is important to remember the proverbial cherry on top – celebrate your victories. Whether big or small, every success should be treated with eager excitement as a great milestone in your journey. Progress will look different for everyone, this is why you must focus on yours as it pertains to you and your goal. Any step forward is a good step – and a positive one at that. Remember – as we said at the very beginning – positive thoughts create positive feelings; positive feelings create positive actions.
Now all you achievers, go-getters, and life-changers, get out there and make a goal! It is never too late to change your life and begin the pattern of a healthy lifestyle; you only need that first yes.