New Year’s Eve is coming next week. Everyone will be in a rush to decide what their “New Year’s Resolutions” will be. For many people, that means getting a gym membership. But they usually give up before January ends. Salad bar business and veggie sales skyrocket. Steps are counted on the Christmas Fitbits. It doesn’t really matter if it’s weight loss or getting up earlier to get a jump on your day, usually these resolutions end before the month is out. What you need is a concrete plan for your goals.
First, stop calling them resolutions. They are goals and it can take the entire year to accomplish them. You are looking at making a life change. Always make goals that are achievable yet challenging. Saying you want to lose fifty pounds by spring is not doable and you will get frustrated quickly. However, about pound a week is the safest way to lose weight. Plan both business goals and personal ones. Business goals can range from starting earlier in the day to taking classes to go for a promotion. Personal goals can be financial like paying your bills on time or planning a date night with your significant other.
After your goals are set, you need a roadmap. What can you start to do to achieve your goals? Even small changes will make a difference. Add five thousand steps a day; it’s easier than you think. Not used to exercise? Walk for ten minutes, then increase by a few minutes a day. Buying expensive coffee every day? Make it at home, then treat yourself to a coffee out once a week. Decide what milestones you want to meet every month or every quarter. Check your goal path weekly to make sure you are on track. Sometimes we need to reevaluate our goals or adjust them as life happens.
It’s fun to include the family in your goals, but don’t expect everyone to be on board. You can do what you need to do without company, but it is surely helpful to have support while working to improve yourself. But you are working on yourself- so look for support elsewhere if it’s not coming from home. Find a partner with similar goals or support groups online.
A word on “dieting” with children in the house, especially girls. Girls are concerned with body image at an increasingly young age. A poll showed the vast majority of 7 year-old girls would rather get hit by a bus than be called fat. The word diet should not be used around kids. The goal is getting healthy. If some weight is lost too, that’s great! A young girl with a parent claiming they’re always on a diet can give young kids an unhealthy attitude about food.
So make a plan, get going on those goals, and look forward to the new year!
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO