In last week’s post, I shared my tips for finding your “why” and setting realistic SMART goals. Once you have discovered your “why” and write down your SMART goal(s), it’s time to make a plan. If you missed Part I, I encourage you to start there to figure out where you’re going. It’s awfully hard to follow a map to a destination that has yet to be chosen. Did you write your goals down last week (or just now)? Phew! I knew I could count on you! Pull those goals out and prepare to make a plan! Let’s begin, shall we?
Let’s stick with the SMART goal example we used in the previous article:
SMART: By December 31st, 2018, I will lose 20 pounds by eating at least 5 servings of vegetables per day and walking for 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week.
Now that you have an idea of how you plan to lose that 20 pounds this year (eating 5 servings of vegetables/day and walking for 30 minutes a day 5+ days a week), take stock of where you are currently with these behaviors. How many servings of vegetables per day to you currently consume? How many days per week to you currently walk? For how long? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you an idea of where you are starting and how to progress. Let’s assume that you currently eat 1 serving of vegetables per day and don’t walk at all. A good starting point would be to aim for 2 servings of vegetables per day and one 10-15 minute walk per week. Once you’ve done this for 2-4 weeks, you can make a small increase. Remember, keep the long game in mind. Could you jump straight in and keep it up for a week or two? Sure! But you are not likely to stick with the behaviors for the long haul and will therefore not see the results that you want at the end of the year. Here are some keys to successful behavior change:
- Track your behavior- Use an app, calendar, goal setting journal, cell phone, or anything you prefer to track your progress day to day and week to week.
- Find a source of accountability (a friend, spouse, relative, trainer, etc.). Someone who you can rely on to check in on you from time to time to see how you’re doing.
- Set an appointment with yourself weekly and/or monthly to check-in on your progress. If you aren’t able to meet your weekly goal, then adjust your goal to make it more manageable and only progress when you can sustain it consistently.
- Celebrate successes- big and small! Did you meet your vegetable and physical activity goal 2 weeks in a row? Fantastic! Treat yourself to a pedicure or a new workout top. Two months in a row? Wow! How about a healthy cooking class to celebrate? The possibilities are endless. Just remember to choose rewards that are supportive of your new goals.
- Start small. I mean really small. You are more likely to stick with your goals if you slowly work your way into them. It’s really appealing to try to do everything at once, but you and I both know how that turns out (See statistic about how many people drop their New Year’s Resolutions by February). Focus on ways that you can get fast and easy wins in the beginning to build confidence and help you continue to move forward steadily.
It’s your turn: Apply what you’ve learned (steps 1 and 2 are from Part I)!
Let’s re-cap with the activities you need to complete to resurrect your resolutions:
- Think about what you’d like to achieve and define your “why”.
- Get specific and turn that goal into a SMART goal by following the guidelines in Part I of the post. Write down your goal and keep it somewhere visible so that it stays at the forefront of your mind.
- Make your action plan! Compare your SMART goal actionable tasks to what you currently do to figure out where you are starting. Make weekly and monthly goals to baby step your way toward achieving your SMART goal. If you have a misstep along the way, then that just means that you’re human! Simply try again or adjust your goal to make it more realistic.
You’ve got this! Let us know what goals you’re attacking this year. We’d love to know!
Here’s to a Fit February.
Thanks, as always, for your wise and sensible suggestions. I can apply this to my life right now for sure. I especially love “start small”. Great reminder. My word for the year is perseverance, and this dove tails in perfectly with that. Your words are uplifting and encouraging. Thanks again and keep them coming!