New Year, New You: Resolutions
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Make sure your expectations are realistic
One major reason resolutions fail is setting unrealistic goals. Let’s say your resolution is to lose weight. Believing that you can drop two dress sizes in a month not only sets you up for failure, but it can also lower your desire for improvement.
What is a realistic goal? It’s one you’re both willing and able to work toward. But don’t set the bar too low. A goal can be both high and realistic, "stretching" you to develop new skills, abilities and financial capacity to reach it. Accomplishing a similar goal in the past also increases your chances of achieving a new one.
Be specific about what you want
Experts say you have a greater chance of achieving your goal if it’s as specific as possible. For example, don’t say “I want to get in shape,” because that’s too general. Instead, ask yourself these 6 questions.
Then set yourself a more specific goal, based on your answers. So instead of "I want to get in shape", your goal might be "I want to join a gym and work out for an hour every day after work, to improve my heart health."
Small changes can bring big results
When making any major life changes, it’s best to start small. Let’s say you’ve set yourself a goal to lose 10 pounds in a month and a half. Breaking that down into an even smaller chunk, that’s about 1.5 to 2 pounds a week. Once you’ve established that, you can start making some workable dietary changes. These might include:
Why you should measure your progress
Measuring your progress is another important part of goal setting. First, it helps you stay on track by having concrete criteria toward reaching each goal you set. Second, it allows you to experience joy when you finally do reach that goal.
Again, it comes down to asking yourself the right questions. Let’s say your resolution is to learn a new skill. Ask yourself, "How will I know when it’s accomplished?" Steer away from generalizations such as "become better educated" to specifics such as, "I want to take a night class to learn computer programming."
Make a smaller number of resolutions
Made a long list of resolutions this year? You might consider shortening it. Research shows that too many resolutions aren’t likely to work. This is because most resolutions require many changes in behaviour.
A resolution to jog 3 times a week, for example, calls for many decisions outside of buying a new pair of runners. You may have to get up earlier in the morning, or change your daily schedule. Thinking about all the small things you need to achieve your goal will boost your chances of success. However, it may also mean that you don’t have the time to do other goals.
How to cope with setbacks
Everyone fails from time to time. Here’s how to cope with a setback.
• Don’t dwell on it. When you’re feeling down, the key is not to get stuck focusing on the negative. Try reframing your thoughts. Ask yourself “What can I learn from this?” Even noticing that you’re stuck thinking about the negative can help you move away from it.
• Remind yourself of what you achieved. Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t stick to your work-outs. Make a list of things you’ve achieved in the past thanks to the changes you have made.
• Don’t give up. Instead, give yourself more time.
An example of good goal setting
Specific goal: I want to lose 10 pounds.
How I will make it happen: Over the next 2-3 months, I will eat more fruits and veggies, leaner meats and exercise more in hopes of losing weight and improving my health. My goal is to walk 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. I will also take the stairs whenever I can. In my journal, I will keep track of how much I walked. I will weigh myself once a week, and also record any improvements to my health.
Keeping stress under control
Creating changes in your life can be stressful. You can keep stress from getting the better of you:
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This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.
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