Last updated: January 15. 2014 8:28AM - 707 Views
Kathie Cox Public Health Matters

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What do you want to achieve this year? Have you thought about it? I know I have. Many of us set resolutions and/or goals for the year in January. Maybe you have already set your goals or started thinking about your plans for the year. As you set out on making your resolutions for the year it’s important to chart your course for reaching your goals. Rather than setting one large goal without a plan of action, my best advice is to ask yourself: “What small steps can I take to get there?” After all, small steps add up. As you make your decisions and set your goals for the year, spell out your plan for success.

As the new year kicks off, thoughts turn to resolutions and the ever growing list of what we want to improve, do better or change. We vow that this year will be different than the last. All too often by June those resolutions are long forgotten or you’ve given up. This year, set out to make achievable resolutions that you will stick with throughout the year. Grab a pen and a piece of paper because if you’re a resolution maker, these tips will help you start 2014 off on the right foot.

This year, make smart goals, ones that are specific. What will you change? How much? How many? How long? Do you have time? Can you afford it? Start small, then build on it and then have a time frame. When is it done? Everyday? Weekly? In three months?

Think of two to three things that you want to accomplish in 2014. Then rank them in order of importance. This gives you a chance to see what is most important to you. Read over your goals. Are they realistic? Are you ready to make the changes and sacrifices needed to achieve them? Are they really doable? Adjust them as needed until your goals are challenging but aren’t unreachable. Write your goals out again and this time make them as specific as possible. Instead of “walk more” write down I will “walk ___ days per week for at least ___ minutes each time.” Set a plan. Come up with concrete steps about how you will accomplish your goals. Do you want to quit smoking? Set a ‘quit date’ and begin the process. Are you diabetic and need to learn how to eat healthier or become more physically active? Get involved in a support group or education class. Be determined and don’t be afraid to fail. We all have lapses. Just start again and try to stay on track.

Another tip would be to create a chart or poster with your goals and put it somewhere you will see often, like on the bathroom mirror or over your desk — or carry a small version in your wallet or your cell phone or tablet. I use a calendar and check off the days I’ve achieved a step toward my goal. Just make sure to look at it frequently to remind yourself of where you are going and also to see how far you’ve progressed! Reward yourself when you reach short-term goals and think about what the end results will look like and feel like to help you stay on track. Once you put your mind to it, you can do it.

For information on healthy living, smoking cessation, or the “WOW!” Workouts for Women physical activity and nutrition program contact Kathie Cox, Health Educator II/Healthy Carolinians Coordinator at Scotland County Health Department at 910-277-2470, ext. 4478 or visit eatsmartmovemorenc.org. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year.

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