With every New Year we resolve to eat well, exercise more, get more sleep and stay healthy. Unfortunately for many of us by the end of February our goals have taken a back seat and we return to our normal routines. So what’s the secret to sticking to your goals all year long? Here are some tips:
- Create an action plan. Creating a manageable plan of how you will accomplish your goals sets you on the road to success. Break down your goal into daily activities – if your goal is to eat healthier this year, have three servings of vegetables and fruits every day and track your progress. Keep healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts and vegetables in easily accessible places such as your bag or office desk. Come up with a strategy to avoid the temptation of indulging in unhealthy foods frequently – the most important thing is to create a plan and commit to it.
- Gradually work towards your goal. If your goal is to be more physically active, start by walking during lunch breaks or going to the gym two to three times per week. If you set out to exercise six days per week when you were not exercising before, you quickly get burned out. Avoid the burnout trap and make gradual sustainable changes.
- Remind yourself of your goals every day. Write your goals on a bulletin board, post them on your office desk, or set an alarm on your phone with a message of your goal and why it’s important for you to maintain your commitment. Keeping your goals in front of you keeps you focused.
- Share your goals with others. Invite family and friends on your journey to achieving your goals and sharing your goals will keep you accountable and motivated.
- Stay flexible. As you go through the year, your plans may change and you will experience occasional setbacks, and that’s ok! The most important thing is to adjust the plan and get back on track – flexibility enables you to bounce back after setbacks.
Registered Dietitian, Georgetown University