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Setting Goals for Success

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Here's our question of the month.
How likely are you to set new goals for your health?
 I'll definitely be setting new goals!
I plan to set new goals
I know I should do this, but I'm not sure if I'll do it
I don't usually set goals and so far I'm not planning to
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Setting Goals for Success

This time of year, many people start to think about the “R” word...“Resolution.” While the holidays often trigger this, it’s important to keep in mind that positive change can and should happen any time of the year. When you follow the “setting goals for success” approach—small, realistic goals—you’ll give yourself the best possible chance to succeed. By achieving smaller, more attainable goals, you can build on your success step by step, adjusting your goals accordingly as you move forward with your new plan.
Why set goals at all?
This is a great question. Setting goals is basic and it helps you get a clear understanding of what you need to do. It’s your road map. When people with a disease can actively set goals, they are much more likely to achieve success. Those who are successful make sure their goals are realistic for the lifestyle they lead. These goals should be something they feel they can do. Successful people avoid goals that are not clearly defined or hard to achieve.
Set SMART goals
Here’s a great way to get started:
Define your goal narrowly (pick just 1 area you want to change, like the way you eat at breakfast)
Choose a frequency for the goal (how many times a day or week will you do this?)
Make your goal challenging, but achievable (start with a 10-minute walk)
Make the goal something you actually want to do (make sure it fits into your lifestyle)
Set short-term goals that provide immediate feedback, such as setting goals for just the next 2 weeks.
Here’s a SMART goals example:
I want to be more active
I will walk more
I will walk 10 minutes a day
I will walk in the evening after dinner for 10 minutes 3 times a week
I will walk 10 minutes in the evening after dinner 3 times a week for 2 weeks
Key things to think about when you set your goals

Setting goals can be hard to do alone. That’s why it’s a good idea to get some help from your PCP care Doctor. If your goals are too big, they will help you scale them back. As you’re the one who will be setting your goals and carrying them out.

Focus on your actions instead of the end result
Achieving goals may be easier if you focus on the steps you take to make a change instead of the end result Maybe it’s walking the dog for an extra 15 minutes. Or it could be losing 1 pound a week by eating smaller portions of food at every meal. Whatever you do, be sure your goals are realistic and doable.
Small steps, results you will notice:
·         Try keeping a to-do list when you start any new physical activity. Check the task off when you’re done and reward yourself at the end of each week. Make sure rewards are something you love doing, like practicing a hobby or going to a movie. If possible, make sure rewards are not food-related!
·         Write down your goals and put them where you can see them every day—on the dashboard, the bedroom mirror, the refrigerator, or on your to-do list
·         Sign up for automatic refills at the pharmacy if you have trouble remembering to refill your medicines
Staying true to your goals
One of the easiest times to lose sight of your goals is during the holiday season. When you’re away from home, don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients in certain dishes. Then you can decide on a smaller portion, or if you want to skip that dish altogether. Here are some things to bear in mind:
§  Volunteer to bring your favorite dish that works for you, such as a cheese and veggie tray
§  Take an extra walk in the morning and plan what you will eat during the day if you know that dinner will be big and festive. Use the Food Exchange List to find substitutes ahead of time
Reach for your goals, see your confidence grow!
Remember, you are a unique person with needs only you can know. If there is anything about your culture, lifestyle, or beliefs that may affect your disease, be sure to share this with your Doctor. Remember as you set your SMART goals, every success you have will build your confidence. Step by step you’ll be able to make more changes that have a bigger impact.
Here’s to your success! I can’t think of a more practical way to start the New Year.
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