Health Literacy

Establishing Health Goals for the New Year

New Year Diet Scale Health

With the end of the year approaching, people often begin considering new year’s resolutions. While some may have very lofty goals, others may not have as much they want to achieve. Nonetheless, one universal goal that everyone should aspire to every year is maintaining better health.

No matter who you are and where you’re from, good health is necessary if you want to live a quality life as you age. With that said, if you’re ready to start and end the coming year on a healthier note, you’ll find that there are innumerable methods for establishing and holding true to new health goals.

Set Clear Goals

Most people can agree that goals are easier to set than they are to execute. The fact that science says only 8 percent of people achieve their goals alludes that this may indeed be true. Nonetheless, there are some ways you can increase the likelihood of achieving the goals you set. One method, in particular, would be to be clear about what you want to achieve and what success looks like to you. For instance, if you’ve recently had a baby and want to lose weight and regain your confidence, you could adopt a strategy like getting a mommy makeover.

To help you clarify your goals, create a vision board that shows how you want to look and feel healthwise next year. You can also take the traditional route of writing your goals down in a journal or somewhere you can revisit them regularly.

When defining your goals, don’t forget about identifying your motivations, as well. This is what will keep you motivated when things get tough and you want to quit. Knowing your motivations is also a way to remind yourself to focus on the end goal, not the difficulty.

Personalize Your Diet

When establishing your health goals, it’s necessary that you think about how you’re going to improve your diet. The reality is that a good diet is at the center of good health. That being said, you want to choose a diet that fits your lifestyle so that it’s easier to be consistent. For instance, if your goal is to only drop a few pounds, cutting out all carbs and proteins may not be ideal. However, if you were trying to lose lots of weight quickly, then the ketogenic diet may be a good fit.

Further, take into consideration the present state of your health and any existing conditions you might have before choosing a diet. If you choose a popular diet trend as opposed to what’s best for your personal health, it could prove counterproductive. Although these diets aren’t all bad, they tend to produce short-term results, anyway, so why not focus on long-term success instead?

Sustainable diet changes are also likely to give you better results long-term and enable you to do things gradually and at your own pace. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Starting small and celebrating little victories could get you closer to your goals, after all!

Get an Accountability Partner

The journey to better health is something you can do alone, but having someone there to cheer you on could go a long way. See if you can find an accountability partner that’s also interested in improving their health. Research even shows that having an accountability partner can take your chances of success up to 95%.

The person you choose can root you on when you’re feeling weak and on the verge of breaking your commitment, for example. Knowing someone is watching can give you the push you need to keep going, too. When choosing your accountability partner you might consider a close friend, colleague, or even someone you don’t know. What’s most important is that they hold you accountable to your goals and encourage you when you’re doing well!

Having a partner helps with another important aspect of establishing and meeting goals — measuring your performance. Decide what your key performance metrics or milestones are going to be and update your partner on these, so that they can help steer you in the right direction if you feel lost. For instance, if you want to have more physical endurance, you may decide that going from running one mile to running three is a major milestone — your partner can help you finish that final lap when you feel like giving up! If your partner has similar goals, you can also be the cheerleader for them that they are for you.

Reward Yourself

Try not to be too hard on yourself, especially when you aren’t on track with your goals. Instead, celebrate and reward yourself when you make an effort and hit your targets. Encouraging yourself is especially critical as it helps build your confidence and reminds you that achieving a goal is a process, not a race. If, for instance, your goal was to lose 10 pounds and you’ve lost one, knowing you’ve done this can give you the confidence to do more. Some means of rewarding yourself include taking yourself out for a meal or going for a pampering session.

Habits that have been formed over years of repetition aren’t just going to disappear at the snap of a finger. It will take time, consistency and dedication to unlearn unhealthy habits and replace them with better ones. However, remember that each new day you’re given is an opportunity to start over and refocus your attention on your goals. Good luck!

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Brooke Faulkner is a writer, professional ponderer, and proud momma of two from the Pacific Northwest. When she's not at her desk, she's likely to be found zipping around on her old ATV. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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