6 Tips to Achieve Your Health Goals One Step at a Time

never too late to take the first step - achieve health goal, mission healthBy Becky Holmes, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Every December 31, many people decide to become superheroes overnight – “I’m going to save more money, eat healthier, oh – and visit my parents more and eat out less.” The new year offers the wonderful feeling of a fresh start, and often centralizes around our health. Maybe we all feel we need it after the holidays have taken a toll on our health or feel inspired by all of the loved ones sharing their resolutions.

This year, I chuckled to myself at the bright ideas floating around in my head – do you know how many of us actually follow through with our resolutions and become “overnight superheroes?” Not very many – it’s estimated that only 8 percent of people stick to their resolutions. Eight! If you’re in that 8 percent, keep it up and pay it forward! If you’re in the 92 percent, we’re only one month into the New Year, which means you have 11 months left to start. Don’t give up, and keep your attempt for better health in the forefront.

Regardless of our circumstances, we can find success – and yes, this can even include some of those “dreamy” resolutions. So what’s keeping you? There could be countless things preventing your resolutions from happening – the lofty amount of goals, no details or not writing them down, no plan of action, no consideration of achievability. Is it something we’re actually ready for? Or better yet, is it something we even want?

Occasionally, when someone sets a mismatched goal, I can see failure on their face before there’s even an attempt! Then we investigate further with kindness and find that sweet “I can do this!” moment – so I’m here to tell you that you can too.

Let’s talk real-life strategy.

Think of something you desire for your personal health and well-being this year:

1. What do you want to do/achieve? I like to refer to this as an umbrella goal – it overarches all of our actions – it can be a large one, a moonshot.

2. Determine your “why.” How will it affect your daily life? How will it affect you long term?

3. Identify one or two small goals. Small steps to get you to No. 1.

4. Make sure they’re measurable actions. For example, cooking two more meals at home weekly, rather than something you have less daily control over, like weight.

5. Ask yourself – is this achievable? If not, how can you adjust your goals to safeguard success?

6. Talk yourself up. Consider all of the reasons why you’ve got this and why now is the time.

Lastly, avoid self-judgement.

As we all know, life is ups, downs and invariability. Does it make you a bad person if you only made it to the gym two times and stopped? No way. Instead of feeling like you’ve failed, instead think “What did I learn?” What did you enjoy about the times you did make it? What stopped you or got in the way of the new habit? It could be a schedule change, busy week or maybe you actually didn’t like what you were doing.  Why dread your new lifestyle? Switch it up, try new things and when in doubt, circle back to consider why you wanted “this” – whatever this is – in the first place.

Figure out what will make it work and go from there. You may not become a superhero overnight – but you’ll discover the best version of you in every little step along the way.

Becky Holmes, MS, RDN, LDN, is a dietitian and yoga instructor with Mission Health MyHealthyLife™ Wellness Services. She supports the Healthy and Whole program, nutrition coaching and wellness coaching for Mission Health team members, Healthy State clients and the western North Carolina community.

Learn more about Wellness Services at Mission Health [1].