January. You can’t have helped but notice that every time you walk down the high street shops are enticing you to buy things to make you healthier, to feed those New Year’s Resolutions you sort of decided on.
It may be ‘active wear’ to help you with fitness, lotions and potions to help you ‘detox’ or books with alluring recipes to help you ‘get lean’. It is not just the high street though, there are those leaflets through the door encouraging you to join weight loss clubs and the media joins in with various ‘new you’ segments.
But before you start spending out or getting into some vague regime STOP AND THINK.
Remember for many of the shops, organisations and media outlets January is a slow month so for them, so jumping on resolution bandwagon is just a way of making extra money by appealing to our own frailties.
Only you can decide what you want to do and it is important that you do it properly if you want to succeed.
START by really deciding what you want. Not a vague idea of “I think I need to lose some weight” or “I need to eat healthier” or “I want to be fitter” etc. but instead set yourself a specific goal, “I need to lose 2 stone” or “I need to reduce the amount of salt in my diet” or “I need to be able to run 10K”.
By setting yourself a specific goal it becomes more achievable because you can measure your progress over time, and time is also an important element. When do you want to have achieved your goal by? Having an end date gives you a greater incentive to work toward it. So if you have your summer holiday booked perhaps work to that date to be healthier, leaner or fitter. If you have a longer term goal then, with a specific end date you can break it down across the months so you know where you need to be by that summer date.
The other element of setting yourself goals is to be realistic. If you take up jogging in January you are not going to be running a marathon by Easter! Permanent weight loss is best achieved by losing weight at a steady pace rather than crash dieting and healthy eating is more about balance than completely eliminating something.
While I have concentrated on the typical January goals, these ideas apply to everything you want to get done, any goal that you set yourself. You need to use SMART.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.
You may have heard of this before but it is always worth remembering when you set out to achieve anything. The better the framework for your plan the better he chance of success.
So before you rush headlong into the temptations of a healthier lifestyle take a bit of time to really assess what it is you want to achieve this year and begin the process of planning how best to really achieve that goal.
Next time – More on setting those specific goals