By Sneh Jaisingh
INDIA New England News Columnist
I still can’t believe it’s time to bid adieu to 2015. Time sure is pacing and most of us are trying hard to keep up. There is always excitement in the air around this time of the year. Everyone is gearing up to wrap the year and welcome the New Year with lots of hopes and joy.
Along with all the excitement and reminiscing comes resolutions or goals for the New Year. I love setting goals; I think it keeps me focused and going. Every year around this time I like to reflect back and make a list of life lessons learnt, mistakes made and how I can work on not making them again, new goals and some carry forwards from previous year LOL!
In my experience most of us have our goals focused around 3 major areas
- Health (most popular being “lose weight”)
- Career/Professional leaps
Then some of us have spiritual goals as well, but that is a topic of discussion for some other time.
If we look at these 3 closely, many times health goals take a back seat and the later 2 somehow become our area of focus and sometimes even at the cost of our health. Hence, it is my intention to draw focus on health and share some tips and ideas on how you can get started on planning a healthier 2016.
Here are some simple yet effective tips to set achievable goals, which do not become a recurring line item on the next year’s resolution list.
If you are old fashioned like me then grab your pen and paper and for those computer savvy folks create a spreadsheet.
Add specificity to your goals
This may seem obvious but specifying the outcome that you wish to achieve helps solidify your intention.
Example: “Lose weight”- this is a very vague statement. Instead be a little more specific. “I will lose 20 pounds in 6 months”
Another one “improve my health” instead “reduce blood pressure readings by my next physical”
Often we get carried away and come up with unrealistic goals. A classic example is with weight loss. Remember you didn’t gain all that weight overnight, similarly you will not lose all that weight overnight.
Setting milestones helps keep you in constant check and on track.
- Long term goal – Lose 20 pounds in 6 months.
- Monthly milestone – Lose 4pounds/month.
- Long term goal – Cut down my BP meds by my next physical.
- Monthly milestone goal- Improve my readings.
Create your game plan
Here comes the “HOW”. This is where you strategize and incorporate appropriate lifestyle changes for your desired outcome.
- “Lose 20 pounds in 6mo through a regime involving healthy eating and/or exercise”
- “I will eat more home cooked meals and pack lunch from home instead of eating out”
- “I will wake up 10 mins early and make sure I eat a hearty Breakfast
- “I will walk 10,000 steps daily.”
- “I will skip desserts and eat a fruit instead”
- “I will not buy from the vending machine instead carry snacks from home”
- “I will cut down my alcohol intake from the usual to 50%”
Blood Pressure management
“I will be aware of my salt intake by mindful eating and avoiding high sodium snacks/food”
“Maintain a BP log to monitor it closely”
These are just some examples, but take some time and see how you can breakdown your main goals into 3-4 steps and set a POA (plan of action). Something like a GPS for your final destination.
A major hurdle on your path to realizing your dreams is staying motivated.
Things that can help you stay motivated are:
- Visualize your desired outcome every morning
- Find someone that will hold you accountable
- Find a workout buddy
- Join a community of like-minded individual
- Engage in physical/virtual workshops, speaking of which, NutriAge’s upcoming “Eat Clean Eat Simple challenge”
- Sign up for local marathon/run 5K is a good start
- Maintain a diet journal
Despite all this there will be days where you will fall weak to temptations, get lazy due to bad weather or just feel rebellious. This is reality and what helps most is to accept it, listen to your body and letting loose once in a while is alright. After all contentment comes from balance.
With that I wish you all a very Happy Health and Joyous 2016.