As we approach 2014 many of us will be thinking about making lifestyle changes to improve our health: eat more vegetables, exercise more, stop smoking, and countless other things we would like to change. But, what will it take to be successful? How will we know when we have reached our goal?
I would like to share some of the things I have learned about making healthy lifestyle changes over the years. Making lasting change is never easy and every one of us needs support from friends, family and colleagues to master these personal challenges.
First, you need to “do it your way.” Take time to reflect on when you have been successful in the past. How did it feel and what helped you that time? For example, it took me 22 years of marriage to work out that all I need to do is tell my wife all about the healthy change I want to make, repeatedly, and in great detail. That’s all it takes, after so much “talk” how can I do anything but carry on? Sorry, Julie and thank you for your patience!
S.M.A.R.T. goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
It also helps to write out S.M.A.R.T. goals and keep them somewhere you can see them. Below, I share with you the plan I have developed for one of my current goals:
Specific: Over the next seven weeks I will build up to complete 100 pushups in a workout session.
Measurable: I will train three times a week and keep a written record.
Achievable: I am confident that I can achieve this goal. I am reasonably fit and desire to increase my upper body strength and technique accordingly.
Realistic: I am committed to maintaining an exercise routine and there just so happens to be a book and training program to meet this goal.
Time bound: I will start on January 1st and finish on February 19th.
So there you have it. I have some understanding of how to keep motivated. I will tell my wife all about my plan and progress toward my goal. Fortunately, after 24 years, she has learned to tune me out, and cheer me on at the same time.
Other things that motivate me are some apps that I have downloaded to my smartphone. Many are free and some have a minimal charge. In my next article, I will tell you about some of these apps and what I like about them.
What are some of the health goals you are setting for yourself in 2014?
About Michael Melia
Michael Melia is the director for northwest mental health and addiction services. He is a registered psychiatric nurse and has a bachelor’s of science in nursing and has recently completed a master’s in business administration. Michael is serving as an elected board member for the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses. When not working, he enjoys spending time with family, keeping fit and exploring rural B.C.