Six Tips for Time Management, Setting Goals to Improve Heart Health
For most of us the annual ritual of making New Year's resolutions will normally focus on self-improvements surrounding our health, wealth, and happiness. But, for many such New Year's resolutions fail to get past January 1st! So, how can you be successful in setting New Year's resolutions that will benefit your health in 2008?
1) Focus on one thing at a time
Trying to change more than one behavior at a time is a classic mistake. Whilst it is possible to succeed, it's definitely more difficult. Instead, try focusing on one goal at a time and when this behavior becomes a habit, move onto your next goal.
If you have larger goals on your list, remember to break them down into smaller more manageable steps.
2) Choose things that are important to you
Setting half-hearted goals can cause major motivation problems. The solution is to choose something important to you, and you alone. This way you'll be able to stick with your action plan despite any difficulties, which may present themselves later on.
3) Be specific with goal setting
Setting specific, time-bounded goals is a vital step. So, rather than saying "I will eat healthier" say "I will eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day" or, perhaps, "I will swim for 1 hour each week."
You need to describe precisely what you want to achieve and how you will get there. By writing down your goals you are committing to them, and this will also help you remember what you wanted to achieve in the first place.
4) Focus on the process
People often get too hung up on particular aspects of their health, for example the amount of weight they've lost, or haven't lost. If your goal is to lose 5 pounds, focus on how you will achieve this. Do you intend to exercise 3 times each week? By focusing your attention on your exercise routine you'll feel more positive; the result will ultimately be weight loss, however you'll be focusing on a more positive aspect.
5) Educate yourself
Learn as much as you can about your topic, whether it's healthy eating, how to lower your cholesterol, or tips on exercise etc. You may also want to talk to friends or join an online support group - first hand advice can be a wonderful resource.
6) Create accountability
Often when we make New Year's resolutions we don't tell anyone. However, by telling someone about your intentions you are increasing your accountability, because you are now liable to someone other than yourself. This will help you stay on track.
If you do fall short of your desired goals, don't give up. You can expect to have some difficult days, but when they come, try to think of them merely as "processes" in your journey to better health. Worrying, getting angry, or giving up won't do anything for your health in the long run!
Melanie Thomassian is a dietician, and author of Dietriffic.com, an online resource for credible dietary advice, exercise tips, and much more!