How to Create a Year-Long Plan for a Healthy Lifestyle
Every year we kick-start yet another New Year’s resolutions list in the hopes of finally seeing those health goals through. By February, though, a significant portion of those goals will be forgotten and swept under the rug of constant business, and a rush to achieve everyday things. In fact, when it comes to setting goals in general, a staggering 92% of people fail to achieve their goals, and this number includes all those “I’ll eat less sugar” and “I’ll work out more” ideas.
So, what makes that minuscule 8% different and how can you harness that different mindset to fuel your own healthy lifestyle? Let’s take a closer look at several of the most notable ways you can boost your goal-setting powers and create a year-long plan focusing on your health and wellbeing.
Assess your situation
First things first, before you can even begin creating daily meal plans, workouts, or sleep schedules, you need to understand your body’s needs. We’re all different. Maybe you need to lose some weight, maybe you need to gain or maintain it. Perhaps consulting a height weight chart will help you understand where your current bodyweight is, and how you need to adjust your plan to include your weight management as well.
It’s also a good idea to visit a professional nutritionist who can tell you how to approach your dietary needs. Take a week to monitor your food consumption, note down everything you eat or drink, so that you have a realistic overview of your behavior. Only then can you know how exactly you need to change in order to succeed.
Be specific and realistic
The vague goals we’ve listed as examples above such as “I’ll work out more” say so much about our state of mind. There is nothing exact about that “goal”, so it actually cannot qualify as a goal, but more as wishful thinking. Transform that idea into “I will train 30 minutes three times per week, by cycling, running, and swimming, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays before work”, and you get a specific plan you now have the ability to follow through.
The latter example shows determination. You need to apply the same SMART principle, to make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Make every day a sum of such goals, and you’ll soon start ticking them off your list and turn such behavior into healthy habits.
Find a health-buddy
Accountability is another crucial idea when it comes to health. We’re fallible, and it’s natural for us to look for shortcuts when something poses itself as a great challenge for us. When we have someone to give us a little nudge when we feel that need, it reminds us that we’re on a journey, and that we’re not alone. For some, it even adds a subtle dose of competition that helps them put their best foot forward.
Find someone who also has goals to achieve. Be each other’s support system. That means texting in the morning when you cannot get out of bed, summarising what you’ve achieved for the day, exchanging tips and successes so that you motivate one another, and the like. Not to mention the direct responsibility you’ll feel because you need to “report” to someone on your everyday goals!
Set a reward system
Although a strict approach does have its merits so that you can increase accountability and stay on the right track, you should also make this journey a pleasant one. After all, health is something you will tremendously enjoy, since it will give you more vitality, energy and more resilience to enjoy the finest experiences life can provide. So, create a list of weekly (and even daily) rewards to keep your motivation coming.
For daily “treats”, you can catch a movie, get a healthy snack you love, treat yourself to a new fitness tracker, or set up a coffee date with a friend. For weekly treats, you can have a massage, a spa day, go dancing, take up a new class – you name it. If you love it, it will help you stay on the right track and bring joy to the entire health-building process. You can even use apps that provide rewards for you, so that you never run out of motivation to keep pushing yourself.
Track your progress
Finally, equally vital for your success: you need to track your progress. If you don’t see the numbers, the change, the actual results, you’ll likely fall right back into your old patterns. When you do see the results of working out, eating well, and sleeping well, you’ll be even more invigorated to see your goals through, not merely for a year, but for a lifetime of wellbeing.