January is Folic Acid Awareness Month.
Happy New Year!
According to the US.gov website, each year the following resolutions are popular: drink less alcohol, get a better education or job, eat healthy food, get fit, lose weight, manage debt and stress, quit smoking, go green, save money, take a trip, and volunteer to help others. In a study published in the American Journal of Health, researchers at the University of Missouri found that, after looking at over 99,000 participants, any method that utilizes recording and tracking activity and results significantly provided motivation for improvement. No matter your personal resolutions, remember that you can make resolutions at any time- it doesn’t have to be January 1st– it can be today!
Resolutions: we all make them. To be successful, we need goals, or rather, SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely. So, if you have a resolution or goal you want to accomplish, it’s time to take out a pen and paper and write it down.
- Specific: Instead of saying “I want to get fit”, a specific goal would be something like “I will do 30 minutes of walking on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays”. Being less vague will help you pinpoint what activities you can perform, with whom, and at what time or on what days, to be successful in accomplishing your goal.
- Measurable: It’s important to have a starting point and a way to measure the results. For example: “I will start walking around the block every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In 1 week, if I have comfortably walked around the block on those days; I will walk around 2 blocks on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I will continue to add blocks until I have walked for at least 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.” Or maybe, if you are trying to lose weight or tone up, you can measure your waistline, hips, and any other areas you are focusing on. At the end of each deadline, you will better be able to see results and decide if you need to make adjustments to your goal.
- Attainable: It’s important to choose a goal that is attainable for your unique needs and desires. It can be easy to open up magazines, watch television, or hear from a friend about the latest health trend that is or isn’t working for someone else and want to jump in. The example I have used above may be attainable or easy for some and maybe only a starting point for others. You should consider your attitude about certain activities and motivation as some may enjoy walking while others enjoy running while others enjoy swimming while others prefer to lift weights or go to an aerobics class. If you don’t enjoy the activity, your chances of success could be much lower. The same can be said about your limitations; if you have a health condition that prevents certain activities, it is important to seek out those you enjoy and can perform without risk of hurting yourself.
- Realistic: Goals need to be realistic or you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead of aiming for a radical change, you can plan small, attainable goals with reasonable deadlines that will allow you to reward your progress and motivate you to keep going. For example, if you’ve only ever enjoyed walking/jogging a few miles a day, it wouldn’t be wise to sign up for a marathon within a month. Instead, a more realistic goal for someone who walks/jogs for run, but who is considering a marathon at some point, could start off with smaller goals of running 1 mile, then 3, then 5 over months until, eventually, their goal of running a marathon can be achieved safely.
- Timely: Your resolutions and goals need to have a timeline. Both the short-term goals and the long-term goal should have deadlines to measure your progress against. Without a sense of deadline, one can lose their motivation to ‘get fit someday’ when instead, they can eventually ‘walk 30 minutes a day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday in 2 months’ or lose those stubborn 10 pounds in a few months.
Only you can decide your goal and how SMART it is going to be for you. To help you out, you can use a worksheet, such as the one below to better help you achieve your goals in 2014!
|What do you want to achieve?||Specifics:
||Is it achievable? Why or why not? How important is it to you to achieve this goal?||Time