At the start of a New Year, we often take some time to look back and set new goals for the year ahead. A significant portion of New Year resolutions pertain to health: lose weight, improve nutrition, be more active and more. When we set our objectives, we often have in mind the achievement of a specific outcome without thinking too much about the way to get there. Making changes is not impossible, but it does require some preparation. Here are some tips to help you change your habits and achieve your goals.
What you need to know
When making a New Year resolution, identify an area for improvement in your life. However, you must be prepared to face the potential implications of this decision. For example, if your goal is to increase your physical fitness, you register for a gym. Great first step! Are you really ready? You will have to plan time to go, the attire and laundry, but also what you do when you will get there. Will you join a group session or hire a trainer? Have you arranged for a babysitter? Do you have to take a shower after your training? Your weekly schedule will necessarily have to be adapted if you want to succeed!
Observe your lifestyle
Do you want to change? If your goal is to cut sugar from your diet, make a note of when you eat it, how much and what state of mind you are in when you do. Do you want to improve your fitness? Make a note of the moments when you are active and the moments when you could put some physical activity on your schedule. Your goal is to reduce your stress? Start by noting the times of day when you are stressed and what the causes are. Being aware of what is wrong will help you personalize and adapt your goal. There are several applications like My Fitness Pal, for example, that can help you to track your habits.
Choose a small realistic goal
Your objective must be achievable and minimize multiple, simultaneous disruptions in your daily life. Start small and evolve over time as you gain confidence. If you are sedentary, don’t register for the next marathon! Consider using the stairs instead of the elevator, go out for lunch or walk to work. Do you want to lose weight? Start from the basics, make sure you get enough water, cut processed foods, remove one dessert in your day or add more vegetables and fruits to your diet.
Plan in advance when you will take action and schedule the time. Do you want to walk? When? At what time? With who? How long will it take? The more specific your objectives are, the more you will reduce the negotiation with yourself when it comes time to act. Do you want to increase your consumption of fruit and vegetables? When are you going to do it? Every day? At all three meals? How much? When the plan is clear, it is easier to follow.
Reduce the number of tasks to be completed when you put your plan into action. The fewer decisions and steps you have to take when the time comes, the more likely you are to succeed. Are you planning to walk on your lunch hour on Tuesday? Prepare your shoes in a bag for the next day, plan your walking itinerary with Google Maps or applications like MapMyRun. If you want to eat more vegetables, cut them in advance so that they are ready when the time comes. Preparation is the key!
We remind you that Dialogue’s Care Team is readily available for any health and wellness questions you may have. We look forward to supporting your 2019 goals.