Set healthy goals, make them stick

  • Published
  • By Tinker
  • Civilian Health Promotion Services
Another year has passed and it's time to set new goals for a positive 2014. It is a time to reflect on last year's behaviors and create an opportunity to make positive lifestyle changes.

Making resolutions and sticking to them can be an intimidating task. There are a few steps you can follow to help you on your journey to achieve these new goals.

First and most importantly, YOU need to be ready for the change. If you are making changes to satisfy anyone other than yourself, you are less likely to achieve or maintain your goals. Setting SMART goals is the key to making your new resolutions really stick.

S- Specific -- Set goals that are specific and straightforward to focus your efforts and clearly define what you plan to do.

M- Measurable -- Be sure you can measure your success to effectively track your progress and see the change occur.

A- Attainable -- Keep your resolutions attainable and realistic. Keep in mind everything else you have to balance in your life. By making your resolutions realistic, there is a greater chance you will keep them throughout the year, incorporating healthy behavior into your everyday life.

R- Rewarding -- Create a reward system to keep you motivated. A goal is rewarding when you have clear reasons why you're striving to achieve your goals. Include short-, mid- and long- range rewards. Repeatedly review the benefits of your goal and why it is so important for you to achieve this goal.

T- Time-Oriented -- Be sure to set a realistic time frame for achieving your goals. When putting an end point on your goal, it sets a clear target for you to work toward. Without a time limit, there's no urgency to start taking action now.
It is also important to identify potential barriers. Make a plan on how to deal with each barrier and how you will work around it. This prepares you for the situation and gives you a chance to deal with the barrier in a positive manner.

You should plan for a relapse. There will be many things that will get in the way of your goals. Don't get discouraged! The key is to get back on track quickly. Don't let one day turn into weeks or months. Creating a support system is another tool that will help you along your journey. Having a support system can help you when setting, meeting and attaining your goals. A support system can help you through a relapse and also celebrate your success.

"Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time," says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD.

All of these recommendations and more can be learned during one of Civilian Health Promotion Services health education classes. If you need a little motivation or want to learn more about the program, email CHPStinker@psc.gov or call 582-6817.