Guest Author - Gretchen Goel
If you wrote a New Years resolution that included something about improving your health, you will want to read this article so you can actually get started on achieving those goals. First of all, New Years Resolutions are like diets. They don't work! They are normally very general or unmeasurable. And, since we have all year to work on them, most people tend to work on them at the beginning of the year and then put them aside.
1. Before setting health and wellness goals, determine what behaviors you are truly ready to change. If you think are doing fine and don't need to work on wellness, get real with yourself. We all have behaviors we can work on and improve in this area.
If you think that genetics are in your favor because you have a grandparent who ate steak and potatoes every day of their life, never ate a fruit or vegetable, never exercised, smoked cigarettes daily and lived to be 88...consider also those relatives in your family who have had Cancer, Type II Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, etc., at or before mid life.
Genetics account for only 20-30% of your total health picture. Lifestyle, not genes, are the biggest factor in determining your long term health.
Decide what your ideal health picture should look like. When in your life did you feel and look your VERY best?
Create a vision statement based on how you will look, feel and behave.
Here is a sample wellness vision:
"I will become a more balanced, less stressed, even tempered person who makes health a top priority. "
2. Set three month goals based on your vision statement. 6 month and one year goals can also be set but setting 3 month goals gives urgency to start working toward the goal today. It's also best to only work on 3 to 5 changes at a time. When we try to make too many changes at once we can feel overwhelmed and defeated.
3. Determine your INTERNAL MOTIVATORS for change and put them in writing. Why do you want to "run a marathon", "lose 20 pounds", "start a weight training program", etc?
4. Now, figure out what your obstacles are. Do your best friends disapprove of your healthy eating? Are you a night owl but have a goal to start running early in the mornings? List all the people or habits that are keeping you from achieving your goals and come up with a solution as to how you are going to get around those obstacles.
5. What 3 things can you do this week to work toward your three month goals? Make certain you are at least 80% sure you can achieve your weekly goals. If you are not at least 80% sure, you need to cut back at the goal. Maybe run only two mornings this week instead of the four you thought you could do.
6. Who can you be accountable to? If you do not have group support, hiring a Wellness Coach can be a tremendous help! Wellness coaches specialize in helping people with long term, permanent change.