In the last post I talked about getting yourself in the groove with health. I’d like to expound on this by providing your some guidance that’ll help you set solid health goals.
This is one of my favorite times of year as 12 months of data wraps up and helps me set goals for the upcoming year, both personally and professionally. December is a great time of year to set health goals and start working on them immediately. Why wait? There’s no time like the present. Besides, you know you’ll feel better about yourself if you get a jump start, instead of wincing as you step on the scale on the first of January, finally facing the total damage you have to undo. Start now and that scale will be a tool that measures progress and marks of little successes that add up.
The Perks of Starting Now
Your body reacts favorably the moment you start making good health choices, be it adding a 15-minute walk to your day, to swapping in one or two healthier meal options. It doesn’t take a lot to get momentum going in the right direction. Your body craves TLC and nutrition, and rewards you for every good choice you make. So, something as small as cleaning up your diet between now and Christmas will make the next big holiday meal splurge a mere bump in the road, instead of another stone on the pile.
Another thing to point out is these days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to pass anyway, so why not make health choices you and your body will appreciate?
Some Goals and Tips
Setting yourself up for success means setting goals both short and longterm. I’ve provided you a guide that will hopefully break your health journey into manageable pieces.
For the next week: Your goal is to make one change to your diet that you’d be willing to stick with, be it abstaining from alcohol, carbonated beverages, or sugar, or take on a bigger challenge, like skipping on eating out for at least seven days.
No matter what you do, I highly recommend getting in the habit of keeping track of your meals and macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbs). If you’re not ready for one of our certified trainers, I’m more than happy to point you to a free app called My Fitness Pal. It’s an excellent eye-opener, and chances are you’re eating more calories than you should be.
For the month of December: Your goal is to include a daily exercise routine you’re ready to stick with, be it short walks, starting a membership at a gym, taking up a sport, or something else that gets you moving.
Whatever you choose, don’t go it alone. Enlist a dependable friend or family member who’ll hold you accountable and won’t talk you into the lazy route. Maybe getting a high energy dog that requires daily walks would help you stay committed. Or maybe there’s a yoga instructor on YouTube you can subscribe to and get moving in the privacy of your own home.
For the holidays: Your goal is to limit yourself to one day or two of indulgence, but bring it as close to one as you can. You might have multiple parties scheduled due to big families, office parties, and whatnot. Plan out what you want to splurge on so, not only do you get to look forward to eating goodies, you know you aren’t going to miss out.
Meal planning is a huge part of a healthy diet. It’s not just about eating clean macronutrients; it’s also about having a plan. There is a saying that goes, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” There’s nothing wrong with planning out how you want to enjoy the holidays. You’re planning out your vacation time, so why not plan out what you want to eat on those days while you’re at it?
For the start of new year: Your goal is to plan out how you want your day-to-day life to help improve your health over the next three months. This is where you want to start setting goals farther into the future while still keeping your weekly goals in mind.
It’s important to set realistic goals. Everyone wants that beach body in time for summer. The reality is wanting to lose all that weight may set you up for disappointment and failure. A safe weight loss pace is 1-2 lbs. a week. That doesn’t sound like a lot but it can add up to anywhere between 50 and 100 lbs. in a year. Trying to lose weight faster far more often than not leads to gaining that weight back, plus more.
For the next full year: Your goal is to develop healthy lifestyle habits that become natural year after year. You want portion control to come to you without thinking, being able to load up a plate with the right balance of macronutrients, fill up your grocery cart with the right balance of healthy and indulgent, and the switch from holiday to everyday fare a simple approach. You also want an exercise routine that becomes as habitual as your daily grooming routine. Some days getting your body moving will be a fight. You’re human. However, building good habits take time, just like building bad habits.
Don’t try to make every last necessary change in one day, much less one month. Ease yourself off bad habits and ease into building good ones. You have a far greater chance of sticking with small changes that add up, than completely overhauling your life in 24 hours. Gently tip the scales towards balance.
Your next step is to write one goal down for all five timeframes, and then post them somewhere you’ll see them every day, be it your refrigerator or bathroom mirror, or somewhere else. The daily visual reminder will help you stay on track, remind you of your goals. You and your health are worth this time and effort. And while your reflection in the mirror and number on the scale may not be where you want it yet, find peace and joy in every choice, every day that brings you closer to your goal. If you’re not happy with what you have now, you won’t be happy with what you have later.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or ideas rolling around in your head that you’d like to run by me, I’d be more than delighted to help. Leave a comment or send a message, and I’ll get back to you.
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