Patient: My resolution for 2017 is to eat well and exercise regularly. I was motivated for the first 2 weeks but I am now back to my old habits. Do you have some tips to help me stick to my health goals?
Dr. Lewis: To successfully change old habits takes time, planning and motivation. Here are 5 tips to help you reach your health goals.
1. What gets planned gets done! Write down each goal and create a plan. This can include a schedule, a to-do list, a not to-do list, any obstacles or triggers, your support team, recipes, workouts, etc. Review and edit your plan regularly to keep you motivated and accountable. An example of a goal and plan could be as simple as follows.
Goal: I will exercise more regularly
- make a schedule note the kind and length workouts
- research different workout routines
- track your steps or workouts
- find a workout buddy
- join a gym or exercise class
- buy new workout clothes and shoes
- have some equipment at home to eliminate excuses
- find some online workouts to do at home
2. Have support. Share your goal with as many people as you can so that they can support you and keep you accountable. You can also encourage people to join you. It’s much easier to achieve a goal when the people around you are striving to do the same. Blogging your journey can also help with accountability and inspire and motivate others who might be on a similar path.
3. Remember your motivation. Think about your motivations. Why are you doing this? What will keep you going? Write these down in your plan.
4. Remove the obstacles and triggers. For example, if your goal is to eliminate sugar, don’t have sugary foods in the house.
5. Don’t give up. We are not perfect and most habits are hard to change so if you feel you failed, don’t give up. Remember your plan and your motivations and start again. Reset your resolve, and don’t look back.