Goals help us define our direction. They make it possible to make a plan of action and to help us determine if we are on the right track. But when we make unrealistic goals, we set ourselves up for failure because we set standards that we can’t reach. To be sure that your goals are achievable, you need to make them realistic. For a roadmap to a healthy lifestyle:
1. Decide what your goal is.
Are you looking for a specific amount of weight loss such as losing 25% of your body weight? Or are you more interested in battling weight-related illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease? Write out your goal in a single sentence. In general, it is better to make goals that you can control; write about the actions you want to take more than about the results.
2. Determine how long it will realistically take.
If your goal is large, it will take time to achieve it. Sixty pounds of weight loss is not realistic in a month; however, over a period of a few months, it is challenging but doable. Talk with your weight loss doctor or nutritionist about a realistic timeline for your healthy lifestyle goals.
3. Set milestones.
A large goal is less overwhelming when broken into a series of smaller goals. Smaller benchmarks for progress can be getting 30 minutes of exercise 5 days out of every week for a month. Or set a target for weight loss or create health markers like lower blood pressure levels.
4. Don’t give up.
If you have a bad week, don’t decide that you have failed. Pick up where you left off, reassessing your milestones and progress if necessary. By being willing to accept mistakes, you can make it easier to get back on track in your quest toward a healthier lifestyle.