How to Stay Committed to Your Health Goals in 2017

January 12, 2017
Office of Dr. Steven Fass

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A new year can be both a mental and physical reset for many areas of your life. But as popular as New Year’s resolutions are (nearly half of Americans make them), only about 8% of us actually achieve our goals.

So if you’ve committed to a healthier lifestyle in 2017, how can you make sure you’re in the slim percentage actually making a change for the better?

Write It Down

The simplest secret toward keeping a goal in the forefront of your mind is as easy as a pencil and paper. Write it down on a sticky note or your bathroom mirror, in your journal or on your calendar. It doesn’t matter where you write it or how pretty a font you use. What matters is putting the words down because it’s a physical reminder of what you want to achieve.

Reflect and Review

Once you’ve written down your health goals, take them one step further and begin a journal. By daily, or weekly, chronicling how and what you’re doing to achieve your goal, you’ll be able to see where you need more restraint and how you can make the goal more attainable. “Lose weight” is ambiguous, but “participate in Whole 30 Challenge” offers specific parameters and becomes more achievable.

Even if you’re not into analyzing your feelings, keeping a daily log of food and water intake, as well as exercise, will help you see whether or not your lifestyle is truly changing to meet your goal.

Focus on the Positive

As you reflect in the coming months, be sure to focus on the good you’re seeing rather than the obstacles. Perhaps the scale isn’t moving much, but your clothes are looser or you have more energy. Maybe you miss your old standby comfort foods, but you’re enjoying making new friends at the gym. Thinking positively increases your motivation for those times it’s hard to maintain this new lifestyle.

Seek Support

As the weeks and months pass by, you might begin to feel a little lonely in your quest to better your health. Before that happens, seek out the support of like-minded individuals who can hold you accountable to your goals. Look for groups you might join through a local gym, religious community, or even your doctor’s office. There are also plenty of online forums where you can chat any hour of they day and receive encouragement. Find your people and let them push you along when you’re feeling tired.

Make a Plan

When you make a plan, you are preparing for pitfalls that may detour you from your healthy path. A meal plan will keep you from making last minute decisions to get fast food. You can find many ready made meal plans online that are designed for bariatric patients, paleo, gluten, or dairy free diets. Using a plan prepared by a certified dietician saves you time and guesswork. You can design a plan that is detailed to include all meals and snacks, so you always have a healthy option. Working with a meal plan will also help you recognize healthy choices for those times you do go out to eat or attend a food-heavy function.

In addition to meal planning, make a schedule for your exercise routine. If you join a gym, schedule when you will go to work out. If you are taking exercise classes, participating in a program, or simply walking during your lunch break, put those dates and times on your calendar. This will help you recognize that time block has been committed. Keeping exercise consistent from week to week will develop this healthy habit.

Finally, don’t be afraid to share your health goals with others. They’ll be happy to encourage you and celebrate with you as you make 2017 the year you discover a stronger, better life.

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