Change can be hard. Every one of us has trouble with it. New Year’s resolutions are a perfect example of how change can be hard. Whether you made a plan before the New Year and never got started, or you started off great and didn’t follow through, goals are often not accomplished because they are too big, vague or complicated. Make your goals attainable, simple and small.
Plan your Strategy
Nothing is ever accomplished without a plan. Look at the major areas of health improvement: exercise, nutrition, stress management or relationships, and pick one that needs your attention. Once you have an area that needs work, set a goal (big picture). Now, try to make one to three smaller plans that you can use to work toward that goal. For instance, if your goal is to exercise more, your plans might be to arrange a definite time for a walk, or to get up an hour early to go to the gym. Be specific and plan what day you’ll start.
Keep Track of Progress
No behavior change lasts unless you track it, so pick some things that are likely to change, and write or record them. In our example, it might be number of minutes of exercise per day, or number of steps recorded on your pedometer. As you see increases, the positive feedback will keep you motivated.
Know your Barriers
What will keep you from achieving your goals? Make a short list of the things that stand in your way. Maybe it’s a busy schedule, a negative attitude or the evening ritual of being sedentary and watching TV. How will you overcome these barriers when they come up? By planning, preparing and thinking them through ahead of time, you are on the way to success.
Remember, even a small change in your behavior can have a big effect on your attitude.