If you read my previous post about how to start the year, then you should have already begun tracking your actual state. You know where you are in terms of movement, diet and sleep. Next up is to start setting goals and getting your game up.
First, let's get something straight; change is hard. No matter what and no matter when. The trick, at least for me, was to start small. Baby steps. The smaller the better. Choose one area to focus on and just do that. The biggest mistake I used to make was trying to change everything at once like exercise more, change my diet, reduce my drinking, etc. It overwhelmed me. It led to failure. I hated that. So just choose one area. But which area to choose you say? I would pick either diet or exercise, as they will move the needle the most. I'll post on that in the near future.
The trick to goal setting is to make them SMART, a popular management tool that makes goals more achievable by making you accountable.
- Specific and Small - be as specific as possible. Down to the nitty gritty. Make it small enough that it is easy to focus on.
- Measurable - figure out how you will measure your progress. There is a saying in management that goes "what gets measured, gets done." If you have been following my advice this is an easy one. You have a fitness tracker and a food journal, use this data to set your goal. And track your progress daily.
- Action- orientated - obviously it's hard to affect any change without action. The best way to do this is to actually schedule (like in your calendar) a specific action. Then plan the rest of your activities around that. in other words, COMMIT.
- Realistic - Ahem. In the baby step method, your short term goals should be relatively easy to achieve. No sense is saying you will run a marathon this year if you spend all your time on the sofa. Or at the bar. They should be realistic for you in your actual state.
- Time bound - Give yourself a time limit, and be specific. Don't say by next month, say by 15 February, 2018. And enter that into your calendar too.
Here is an example:
Let's say you determined that you would like to increase your daily steps. By checking your past data, you know that you easily do 5,000 steps in a day. (See how useful that is?) So you should up the goal a bit. Say 8,000 steps, which is a 37% increase btw, and commit to it. Give yourself some time for troubleshooting and set it maybe for a month in advance. It will look something like this.
I will increase my steps to 8,000 per day by 15 February 2018, by adding a 30 minute walk to my daily routine.
And get started. Like now. Today. OK?
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment, or get in touch. Cheers.