Setting attainable goals and resolutions

Setting goals for yourself is very personal and you need to choose your resolution carefully. There may be many things you would like to change, but you are more likely to stick to your goal if you attempt only one or two changes at a time. Identify what behavior, or aspect of your life, you would most like to change and concentrate on that.
Whatever your goal, make a list of why you want to do it, and how you think it will change your life – will you feel healthier, happier, more relaxed? And how will you feel if you don’t make the change? How will you feel not only now but in a year or five years?
Take time to consider the change you want to make. Planning how you are going to incorporate the change into your life will make your resolution much more successful than a split-second decision.
Learn about the behavior you intend to adapt: read books, watch videos, search the Internet – find out as much as you can so you are aware of the pitfalls and the difficulties you will encounter as well as the benefits of achieving your goal.
Think about the wording of your resolution – is it conducive to achieving your goal? Instead of “I am going to lose weight” which is broad and unspecific, how about “I am going to lose 10lbs by May”, or “I am going to go walking three times a week at lunchtime”. Making a specific commitment makes it easier to keep.
Once you have decided on your resolution, set a start date and prepare yourself. For example, if your goal is to eat more healthily, or lose weight, clear out your cupboards and fridge, chuck out your temptation foods and go shopping with your new eating plan in hand.
Make a plan for your resolution. Which behavior are you going to change, what do you aim to achieve each week and how are you going to cope with slip-ups in your plan? Making a contingency plan for slip-ups will also help you reach your goal. To find out more, click here to read “don’t feel guilty about diet slip-ups”.
Regularly remind yourself why you have made the resolution. Set yourself short- and long-term goals, and reward yourself appropriately when you achieve them. Log your progress – see how you are improving and, if you are tempted to lapse, look at the circumstances that caused this to happen.
Don’t become complacent. Success is achieved by making the change last, so continue to avoid situations that are possible triggers to your old habits.
Give yourself credit for what you have achieved. You have worked hard to stick to your resolution.

How to keep up with those New Year’s resolutions, researchers find commitment is the secret of success. University of Washington Press Release Dec 23, 1997.
Prochaska JO et al. Changing for good: A revolutionary six-stage program for overcoming bad habits and moving your life positively forward. Avon books. New York. 1994


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