Having an action plan in advance to avoid making unhealthy decisions or slipping back into unhealthy patterns is essential, as is creating a strategy NOW before the holidays arrive.
One of the easiest ways to define your strategy is to consider how you can reach your goals successfully. We recommend revisiting the “SMART” system. Here is an example: You want to incorporate a regular fitness routine into your schedule, but you aren’t quite sure how to start or what to do. Maybe you have never exercised before. That is perfectly fine! By using the “SMART” system, you can take baby steps and start your journey one step at a time.
Follow these examples before you outline your own goals:
S: Specific. Instead of “I’m going to get in shape,” say, “I am going to walk a mile in 17 minutes by January 1, 2021.”
M: Measurable. Instead of declaring, “I’m going to walk regularly,” try “I am going to walk for 20-minutes at least three days a week.” If that seems like too much, start with 10-15 minutes.
A: Achievable. If you are new to exercise, do not expect to run a marathon on your first day or even run at all. It is important to start with baby steps and then build upon them! Celebrate each victory, no matter how small!
R: Realistic. Tell yourself, “I’m not going to miss a workout. Ever.” But, in reality, kids get sick, bosses call emergency meetings, and tires go flat. So instead, make yourself a promise you can keep, like “Beginning January 1, 2020, I will get on the elliptical for up to 30 minutes, five days, or more per week at my local gym. I will allow myself two or more rest days per week without feeling any guilt.”
T: Time-based. Schedule your workouts as if they are important meetings you have throughout the week at work, or with your children, and honor that commitment to your optimal health and wellbeing. Make it easy by setting dates for when you want to accomplish your goals and write them on your calendar. Having that visual reminder will help hold you accountable as you start the New Year and start working to engrain these habits into your routine.