Step one of a successful resolution?
Put it in writing!
Make out an Action Plan.
What are your New Year resolutions? Write them down, share them with friends and family who are great cheerleaders. (Along with making realistic and achievable goals -see tomorrow’s post on making resolutions that stick), going public and finding others to cheer you along as they pursue their resolutions is right up there as a component in achieving success.
Don’t worry if you don’t start January 1, set another start date. The Russians celebrate the Old New Year January 14th, the Chinese New Year is February 8th, or perhaps set a date special to you?
What should you include in your Action Plan?
Include your long-term goals, how you will measure your success in those areas, what your goal for this month is, and what actions you will take this week to achieve this short term goal.
Below are the basic components of the action plan:
1. Long-term goals
Establish your short-term and long-term goals so that they have a tangible reward as well as the loftier health goals and write those on the top of your action plan. While we’re often motivated to make resolutions because of a recent medical diagnosis, like high cholesterol, the actual goals often tap into emotional and spiritual health. Consider barriers to achieving your wellness goals.
2. Make an appointment with your health and keep it.
If your plan states that you’re going to go to the gym or take the dog for a walk don’t cancel that appointment for another function because it seems less important. You have an appointment with your health, and that IS important.
The action plan asks you to identify when and how much of something you plan to do. Are you more likely to get up in the morning and walk? If you put off the exercise until the evening will it never happen?
3. Be specific about how much time and energy will go into meeting your weekly goal.
A concrete example – you set a goal to eat a more balanced diet, but then don’t actual turn that intention into action. Be very detailed in the action plan. Write into the plan a dedicated time to plan meals and snacks, to shop for fresh produce and to prepare the produce in one sitting so that you can use it for those planned healthy meals.
I think about the fruit salad in a little lemon juice my own mother always seems to have in the fridge ready to go, or my friend Trish who keeps salad fixings chopped and cleaned ready in separate clear storage containers to be tossed together at a moment’s notice for a healthy meal.
Addressing what will appeal or work for the individual is key. If those fresh veggies and fruits already prepared and ready to eat are they less likely to end up rotting in the veggie draw and then making their way to the compost?
A crucial part of the action plan is reflecting on the steps you plan to take and being realistic about whether you’re going to attain that. If you know that week after week you say you’re going to track what and how much you eat, after all you know this is a successful strategy for many, yet week after week you fail- reassess!
What is your confidence level that you could track for one day out of seven on a scale of one to 10?
Good. How about two days?
An eight or nine.
What about three days of tracking?
Once your confidence level dips below a seven rethink your goals.
The emphasis is on being successful and that success breeds success. If you can be successful for three days this week maybe next week or the week after your confidence will be higher so that you can accomplish four days of tracking.
A sample action plan:
My long-term goal: Improve my cardiovascular health
Why? To be there and be healthy for my children and see them become adults
Measurements of success
ex. Climb five flights of stairs without getting out of breath, reduce cholesterol:
1. Reduce total cholesterol level (I have one measurement from about a year ago. Time to schedule a doctor’s appointment)
2. Improve time at the Saguaro East 5K walk
3. Get stronger and more flexible. Perform squats with good form and perform basic sun salutation with ease.
4. Lose 10 pounds
Goal for the Month:
Address overeating challenge & up physical activity (After reflection I realize part of my weight gain over the past few years is due to a change in eating habits, growing portion sizes, late night snacking, and finishing my children’s food AND a reduction in physical activity)
Steps I can take to accomplish my monthly goal:
1. Address late night snacking by addressing thirst with water and tea rather than food
2. Increase number of steps by going on family walk in the evening (Family New Year’s Resolution)
3. Reduce going back for seconds by slowing down eating, increasing water intake
This week I will: when feeling tempted after my evening meal to snack, I will drink a cup of herbal tea and/or water and if still feeling like a snack, have a piece of fruit.
Because: I will feel less guilt about my late night snacking and it’ll probably help with late night heartburn
What: Satisfy thirst with liquid not food
How often & how much: At least 5 evenings/week
Confidence level: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (confidence level less than 7? Rethink!)
All month we’re providing tips, advice, recipes and inspiration to help you meet your New Year resolutions with the New Year, New You campaign.
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Prizes include A Fitbit Charge HR Wristband, or a nutritional assessment to get you on the path to clean eating, or maybe a exercise assessment to get you on track for success, all with our expert professionals.