by Kari Ewest
We are now in the 3rd week of the New Year. How many of us made resolutions at the beginning of the year to lose weight or to eat better, exercise more, etc? How many of you are still doing what you vowed to do at the beginning of the year? If you aren’t, it’s still not too late to change old bad habits into new healthier habits. The key is to take small steps in the right direction.
But before we can make changes, we need to establish what the big goal is and to think about the steps we need to take to get to the big goal. What changes do we need to make to reach our goal’s. Take your Big Goal and break it down to smaller goals, these are your smaller steps that you will be taking to reach your ultimate goal. Let’s say our big goal is to be in better shape. How are we going to obtain that goal? Are we going to go out there right away and start running an hour on the treadmill when we haven’t exercised in years? Nope. We need to set up small goals to help us reach the big goal. So first we need to make up a reasonable plan. Each week starting on Sunday, I will set a new challenge for me to help reach my goal. The first week, I may challenge myself to do 20 minutes of cardio 5 days of the week. The following week, I may choose to up the time to 22 minutes a day. The following week, I may choose to increase the intensity but shorten the time again. Each week, making those small steps, helps you get closer to where you want to be.
Here are some things that you can do to help you reach your goals.
1. Write down your main Goal, then break it down in to smaller goals. Example: If your goal is to lose 50 pounds this year.. Break it down to losing 5 pounds a month. Having consecutive small goals always gives you something to work for. Each of your small steps should also work towards making a lifestyle change. Not something temporary.
2. Why do we want to achieve this goal? What is our motivation? Are we doing this for ourselves? Do we have to want it bad enough for ourselves. Remembering that the ultimate reward will be a healthier lifestyle for us.
3. Make your goals realistic to you and attainable.
4. Make yourself accountable. How do you make yourself accountable? What motivates you? For me, I have to tell everyone what I hope to accomplish. I voiced it, now I need to follow through, everyone is watching me and knows what my plans are. What works for you? I know some friends who have a blog and some post on social networks. Make yourself accountable.
5. Find a partner or a group of people with similar goals. You can be there and support one another. You are building a support network. With the internet, there are so many places to find groups of people with similar goals. I know Sparkpeople is a free site and a great support place for people who want to lose weight or change lifestyle. That is one example, there are many places to find support. Do local searches in your community to find local support groups, or start your own. There are many resources and tools out there for us to use, we just need to use them.
6. Set up a reward system for yourself after each milestone. Maybe a milestone could be after 5 small steps are accomplished. Decide where the milestones are and reward yourself after each milestone is achieved.
7. Remember there may be times where we fall, even when taking the smallest steps. All we can do is learn from those falls. Why did it happen? We have to get back up and keep going. If we have a bad day, put it past you and just move forward. Yes, falling hurts, but we can overcome those little falls and get back up and take small steps again.
8. Make plans for when you reach your goal. How are you going to to maintain it? Let’s say you lost the 50 pounds, now what? What are your plans for keeping the 50 pounds off? Time to make follow up goals to keep ourselves in check. Do we set a newer bigger goal? Make a plan to how you are going to maintain your health if your goal was to get healthy. You worked hard to be able to run a 5k. You accomplished it. But if you quit after that, you start taking steps to where you were way back in day 1.
If one wants to be healthy, there is no ending date. We need to take steps to make being healthy a natural part of our life. It’s a whole lifestyle change. It’s not something that once you achieve it, you don’t have to keep up with it anymore. Our bodies need constant care and maintenance to achieve optimal health. There will be times where we get frustrated, fall down, but we need to get back up and continue to take small steps. A healthy lifestyle can be achieved, doesn’t happen overnight… It takes time, dedication, and persistence. Most importantly, you have to want a healthy lifestyle for yourself, not for anyone else.
About Kari Ewest:
Kari lost over 100 lbs over a 3.5 year period. She is a professional nanny living in Minnesota. She has been with her current family for over 10 years. Kari has taken her success with her personal weight loss and is studying to become a personal trainer. She would like to work with children to help them learn to be fit and have exercise in their daily lives. To read the story of her weight loss please visit our Table Talk Thursday with Kari