Many Americans (44%) plan to set a New Year’s Resolution this year, and if you are among those setting a goal, congratulations! Goal-setting (no matter what time of year) is an important first step in accomplishing what you are setting out to do. Research does support this: Those who make a resolution are more likely to reach their goals than those who do not. The following are some practical tips to help you in setting a New Year’s Resolution as well as some tips to succeed in meeting your goal.
Create measurable goals. Instead of making a rather vague goal such as “I will eat healthier this year”, set a specific goal such as “I will eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day”.
Break down your goal into small, realistic steps. If you are now only eating ½ cup of vegetables each day, it might seem overwhelming to find ways to eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables. Breaking your goal into smaller steps will increase your likelihood for success; you will be able to see some progress towards your goal and may find it less daunting to start off with a smaller goal such as 1 cup of vegetables per day for the first month, 1 ½ cup of vegetables a day for the second month and so on.
Make a plan. How do you plan on adding those vegetables into your diet? Make a specific plan such as packing ½ cup raw vegetables in your lunch each day.
Ask for help. Whether you need support from family members and friends or you need professional help to meet your goal, do ask for help.
Track your progress. Track how well you are doing, and notice if there are times that your goal is not being met.
Reevaluate your plan. Every two weeks check your progress. If you are not making progress towards your goal ask yourself why and what you can do to change that. Maybe you’ve been packing baby carrots every day and you are tired of them; the change may be something simple such as adding variety.
Be patient. It may take a while to reach your health goal whether it is eating more vegetables, getting more exercise, quitting a bad habit, or losing weight. You may have days when you don’t meet your goal. Remember that improving your health is worthwhile, so don’t give up!