Did you pack on a few extra pounds over the recent Holidays (on top of the ones you put on last Holiday Season)? Or did all that holiday “hustling and bustling” throw your stress level out of whack? If you answered “yes” to either of these then you are not alone. You probably already know that around the New Year, one of the most common resolutions that people make is losing weight. The problem is that many of these same folks never put a plan in place for making this a reality. So, year after year (after year), they make the same New Year’s resolution because they never achieved their former goals. Has this ever happened to you? What will you do in 2017 to realize your goals this year?
Remember, the tried and true formula for goal setting is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. protocol. This catchy acronym will help you to accomplish the goals you set for yourself this year, and help you achieve them much faster. Let’s look at the 5 parts that make up a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
- Specific. Be clear. Make your goal so specific it cannot be confused. Write your goal down. Don’t say, “I’ll start exercising.” Spell it out: “I will go to the gym and do cardio 30 minutes 3 times per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5pm.”
- Measurable. You can’t guage progress if you don’t know where you started. When you set a goal – for example, losing 10 pounds – weigh yourself at the beginning and then at regular intervals to track your progress. Use a system to track this. There are many apps you can download to help you, or if you’re like me, use a colorful pen and a pretty journal.
- Attainable. Set your goal within a range that you can accomplish. If it helps, stagger your goal into smaller milestones. A quick win is what you’re shooting for. This will help motivate you to keep moving forward as you see the results of your hard work paying off.
- Realistic. Rather than compare yourself to others, set a goal that is realistic for you to achieve. Understand what your body is capable of doing and work with what you have. You’re not competing with anyone; only trying to become the best version of yourself.
- Timely. Your goal will be more achievable if you track it. Keep your goal in the forefront of your mind by focusing on a target date. Seeing your target date on the calendar will be a motivator to move your forward.
In addition, here are some more tips to help you shed pounds and succeed with your wellness goals for 2017:
1. Make a plan. How much weight do you want to lose? Break your total down into a series of smaller attainable milestones. For example, “I plan to lose ____ pounds by ____ (date).” Make your goals realistic, and then follow a plan of diet and exercise to achieve them. Set your overall goal and then outline a few objectives (or steps) that you’ll need to have in place to get there.
- Be flexible with your plan. Goal achievement is not usually a linear process. While some may appear to be taking the Beeline, most of use are on a scenic path. Remain focused on your goal, but also allow room to accommodate anything that may come up in your lifestyle.
- Write your goals down somewhere visible, and review them every day.
2. Change your diet. I focus on coaching clients as a whole person. When you’re striving towards a weight loss goal, it is important to look at your diet. What foods are you consuming that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Keep a record of your eating patterns. What’s going when you reach for that bowl of ice cream at midnight? Are you getting enough rest? Where else are you having stress? All of these factors and more are related to achieving a healthy weight.
- Reducing your daily calorie intake will require healthy eating choices. If you’re more of a “numbers person,” consult a registered dietitian, nutritionist or your physician for recommended nutritional guides, and choose the one that works best for you.
- Use the right tools. You might like the idea of downloading an app to help nudge you along. There are many to choose from including apps that track your habits as well ingredient checkers. The key is to use tools that are comfortable for you and that you will actually use to stay on track with reaching your goals.
3. Get moving. Set a reasonable exercise schedule that works for you. Start off with less (remember, baby steps) and work your way up from there.
- Keep your exercise goals realistic. Start small if you need to, and then increase your regimen’s to more intensity, frequency, and duration. For example, if your goal is to run 5 miles, you might start by walking 1 mile. Do what’s feasible for you and start where your body and fitness levels are. Starting off at a slower pace is a smart way to approach your goal and helps build up some stamina and confidence, one mile at a time.
- Don’t make major changes. Setting goals that are too extreme and outside of your normal activities will only be discouraging and make you abandon course. Start off with activities that are closely aligned with your usual routines. By working you’re your current resources and schedule (rather than doing a complete overhaul) you have a better chance to succeed. So, instead of joining the CrossFit way across town; start by exercising in the park that’s on your way home from work. And start small! Build up your time and stamina so you will be able to stick to the new habits and reap the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight.
- Exercising regularly. Exercise a little bit each day or multiple times per week to increase your energy and help you become healthier. There are many ways you can do this without investing in a gym membership if gyms are not your favorite place to hang out. Consider affordable at-home equipment, walking in your neighborhood, or that park I mentioned earlier. Get creative and make your new routine something you look forward to doing!
4. Make it social. Accountability is a definite key to successful goal achievement. Get friends and family involved. The people who are most successful in losing weight (or achieving other goals for that matter) are the ones who have support. Tap into your natural support systems and enlist cheerleaders to help keep you accountable and motivated.
- Your Pep Squad will help you to remain focused, and who knows, they might become workout buddies to motivate you even further along your journey.
- Celebrating your weight loss successes with others will make them that much more meaningful.
Some people find it helpful to have professional support as they tackle their wellness and fitness goals. You might join an online group or consider hiring a health coach to help you set and achieve your goals. Our coaches at Whole Family Living are Certified International Health Coaches. If you feel you need professional support to get on track, set up a call with one of our Certified Health Coaches. We are your partner to help you become a healthier, happier you in 2017!
Losing weight is possible for anyone who approaches this with a clear vision in mind and a plan. With some careful preparation and determination, your weight loss goal can certainly become a reality in the New Year!
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