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home : health : health January 16, 2019

1/8/2019 10:46:00 AM
Set your sights in 2019
By Andrew Loscutoff

A new year. A new you. A new this. A new that.

People are thinking big, they're done with the trials and tribulations of yesteryear. Their motivation for a change is strong.

What happens next? No sugar, daily exercise, 10,000 steps, no alcohol, cut the carbs, meditate, journal, stretch.... All of a sudden your wellness protocol becomes a full-time job. Unfortunately, since most of us cannot hire a personal wellness staff, we burn out within a month. The lucky ones last until March.

Setting proper goals is critical to sustained effort and success - and to set those goals, you need to ask yourself some questions. Sometimes, the questions are more important than the answers.

What is the one thing desired to achieve? That's right, just pick one. A convoluted plan makes for an easy opt-out. Choose one thing, and be specific. A bigger goal usually needs to be refined. You cannot simply say you want to eat better, you can't say you're going to exercise five days a week. All of this needs to be contextual and individualized. It's also important to make goals tiered in order to get gratification along the way. This means that the overall goal might be months away, but steps of mini goals are tomorrow, weekly, and monthly to give you a reward to chase.

What is the one thing that can change now to make a step toward this goal? If it is a goal to run five days a week, begin with simply running around the block most days in between the bigger runs. Eventually there will be momentum and habit to propel you toward a bigger run each day. Often people miss the mark on a change because they're trying to do too much. Use the tomorrow/someday principle. What is it that can be done tomorrow to step toward the goal of someday?

Why do you want to make this change? Thinking about goals, people often miss a deeper connection. They think in terms of wanting something because it would be "healthier," because friends are doing it, because the TV people look good and they ought to look like that. What's missed is the deeper-level purpose. Want to feel better, have the ability to cycle in the spring, or does wellness depend on lowering blood pressure and cholesterol? Put a purpose behind it and make it a priority.

Who is going to help? People are tribalistic by nature; they seek to be a member of a group, they want to belong. When all of a sudden one person out of the group decided they're not drinking anymore when every Thursday all their friends meet at the brewery for locals' night this doesn't sit well. Find other friends, relatives or support groups that align with your goal, and ask these people for support. Often, it's surprising the amount of support someone is willing to


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