The New Year is here, and we are feeling motivated and ready to take on new goals and challenges. We all want to accomplish our health goals but when progress does not come quick enough, frustration may cause us to quit. However, this New Year we are going to focus on resolutions that create healthy, long-lasting habits, not just quick fixes. A habit is a behavior that starts with a choice and then becomes an unconscious action. This creation of lifelong, sustainable results is our ultimate goal. This all begins with identifying and creating specific goals.
“Time and health are two precious assets that we don't recognise and appreciate until they have been depleted"
Have you ever made a general goal and then forgot about it in a couple of days?
This can be very common and unfortunately very defeating. Specific goal creation allows someone to construct the clear step they will need to take on a goal piece by piece. By creating clear, achievable steps, one can stay motivated by feeling a sense of accomplishment at each step. For example, if someone’s goal is to run a 5k, it is unwise for them to try to run three miles at once. Instead set a specific task each day, like “today I will walk ½ mile”, and then “tomorrow I will walk one mile”. By accomplishing those goals you set forward each day, you will not lose sight of the goal or more importantly your motivation.
A very popular acronym for goal creation is S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. When deciding on the specifics of your goal, think about what exactly you want to accomplish, when it should be achieved by and why do you want to achieve it. For example, a general goal would be “I want to eat more vegetables”. A specific and measurable goal would be “I will prepare vegetables every Sunday and Thursday so that I can include a vegetable with every dinner”. This eventually will become a habit, and healthy habits eventually lead to a healthy life.
When making a goal, be sure it is also achievable and realistic. This allows for a higher likelihood you will stick to it. Ask yourself, do you have the resources to achieve your goals? If not, what do you need to do to get them? These questions can help prepare you for what obstacles you may face when trying to reach goals. It is rare for anyone to not hit a roadblock or difficulty when striving to better themselves. However, it is that exact adversity that we must rise to and overcome in order to see a better us. Being prepared for this will help you keep moving towards your goal. Ask yourself what do you anticipate as an obstacle? Write it down and plan on how to either avoid it or overcome it. Do not give up on a goal just because difficulties lay ahead. If you can plan ahead, you will avoid many obstacles that could hold you back! Specific goals are effective because they will give you direction and you will have steps to follow to achieve those goals.