If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably setting some health and fitness goals for the new year. But a goal without a plan is just a wish. So, let’s work on a plan.
10 Steps To Take Toward A Healthier You In 2023
1) Set SMART goals
Reaching a goal starts with making SMART goals. A smart goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Vague goals like “I want to be healthy” are much harder to achieve than something like “I will walk for 30 minutes every day.”
2) Make a commitment
Part of making any goal is committing to seeing it through. This means being willing to put in the work, even when you don’t feel like it. When it comes to health, this might mean getting up for a workout when you’re tired or choosing healthy foods even when you’re craving something else.
Part of committing is understanding why you are making the commitment. What are your motivations for wanting to be healthier? When you have a clear understanding of why you want to make a change, it will be easier to stick with it.
3) Make a plan
Once you know what your goals are, make a detailed plan of how you’re going to achieve them. Include specific steps, deadlines, and who will be helping you along the way. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k, find a training program and map out when you will run each week. Look for a specific couch to 5k program you can follow or better yet, join a running group that has the same goal. Check your local community center or your local running club to find a program near you.
4) Get support
Health and fitness goals are easier to achieve when you have the support of family and friends. So, tell your loved ones what you’re working toward and ask for their help. Help them understand why it’s important to you and let them know exactly how they can help you achieve your goals.
5) Find an accountability partner
Having someone to keep you accountable can be a great motivator. Find a friend or family member who will check in with you regularly and help you stay on track. And do the same thing for them. Consider doing some of your workouts together. It’s much harder to skip a workout if you know your accountability partner is waiting for you.
6) Set up your environment for success
Take a look at your home and work environment and make sure they’re set up in a way that supports your health and fitness goals. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy food options. If you want to work out more but know the weather could be a problem, consider buying a treadmill or getting a gym membership.
7) Establish healthy habits
Forming new, healthy habits is key to reaching your health and fitness goals. So, start by identifying one or two health behaviors you want to change and focus on making those changes. Do you need to drink more water, eat less sugar, or take more steps? Which of these is most important to you? Remember not to try to do everything at once.
8) Be patient and persevere
Remember that lasting health and fitness changes take time. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep working hard and stay focused on your goals. There will inevitably be setbacks along the way. But don’t let them derail your entire plan. Get back on track as soon as possible and keep moving toward your goals. Remembering why you are working so hard will help you shake off the setbacks and move forward. You may even find you can double down on your efforts because you see how easy it is to begin again.
9) Reward yourself
Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Give yourself small rewards for meeting the smaller goals but also create a big reward for achieving your ultimate goal. If your goal is to run the NYC marathon next year, reward yourself with a few extra days in the city or tickets to a show. Make it something you might not otherwise do so it acts as the carrot to your goal.
10) Get professional help
If you’re having trouble reaching your health and fitness goals on your own, don’t hesitate to get professional help. A certified health coach or personal trainer can give you the guidance and support you need to reach your goals.