At the beginning of each year the thoughts of many turn to New Year’s Resolutions—goals for the coming year that will reflect improvements over the year ending.  Studies [and my personal experience] reflect that most of these resolutions are discarded, or not implemented before the end of January.

This post provides tips on developing a plan of action that not only will work, but one that you will stick with throughout the year.  Of course all of the responsibility for development, implementation, revision and updating falls on you.  Therein is the key to the success of this plan of action.  It is dynamic.  It not only changes, but requires frequent evaluation and modifications as needed.  What may look and sound good on January 1 may turn out to be difficult to implement of maintain on January 15.

STRATEGIES FOR HEALTHY LIFESTYLE PLAN OF ACTION

1. Identify a maximum of three behaviors you want to change or initiate.

These behaviors must be specific, observable and measureable. For example, lose weight is not specific enough to quantify.  A more objective statement would be:  lose 10  pounds by June 30, 2017.  This clearly states the objective [lose weight] and the time frame for achievement [June 30, 2017].  The target behavior could be an addition of an action or activity to your usual routine—Engage in physical activity 15 minutes daily M-F for 90 days. Set your target at a level that is easily attainable.  The goal can be adjusted as needed [either up or down].

2.  Record the plan including steps for implementation.  If the target is to lose weight, what changes will you make in your  diet and daily activity.  Will you reduce or eliminate any specific foods from you diet during this time?  What physical activity will be added to you routine? 

3.  Set road marks to chart progress.  If your target is to lose 10 pounds in 6 months, how much weight should you lose each month?  If your scale reflects no loss on January 30, your plan of action needs revision. Is your diet or the insufficient physical activity the culprit?  Only you can decide.   If you have several targeted behaviors, consider elimination of one or more from your plan.  Then focus on your primary target.  Once it is achieved you can then focus on other areas.

4.  Evaluate, revise, update.  Your written plan should include pre-determined points for evaluation.  Evaluate frequently. Revise as need and update often.  A dynamic plan is most effective as it can change as your needs and desires change.

5.  Celebrate your successes. Each day you stick to the plan is one of success and achievement. If you lose one pound and keep it off for a month that is success.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  If you lose 3 pounds and regain 4 do not be discouraged.  You lost them before therefore you can do it again.  Persistence, perseverance and determination are the keys to your success.  Don’t give up on you.
May you enjoy a healthy and successful 2017.

 Check out this meal planner as an aid to managing your food intake.
    
Meal Planner: Weekly Menu Planner with Grocery List   $5.50 USD


About the Author

Theresa was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes Fall 2009.

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