First off it's important to give yourself time to think and plan. I like to wake up early with a cup of coffee (or tea) with a clear and happy state of mind and start planning.
Start with your long term goals (possibly 20, 10, and/or 5 year goals) This is where you can dream big. What is it that you truly want out of life? What does your perfect day look like? You might not know at first. Just start writing things down. You will get more clear as you go. You might start with one vision, then come up with something different and that is just part of the process of figuring yourself out. You can do this in a variety of ways. A simple list, a dream board, or a "Mind Movie" (using iMovie or similar program). I will do another post on how to create a dream board and share some of mine with you. The Perfect Day exercise is another option that would be good to do at this point too. Here is my how-to post.
Once you have a clearer picture of your dream life/day you can start to narrow it down to smaller achievable goals. Break down your dream into 1 year attainable goals. Then break that down further into monthly goals. Ask yourself what are the first steps to take to point me in the right direction to get there. The most important thing here is to just start with something. If that means the only thing you change this month for a health goal is swapping out toast or cereal in the morning for a green smoothie, that is enough to point you in the right direction and get the momentum going to achieving your goal. Like most people at this time of year you say something like I want to lose 20 lbs or I want to get healthier. There is no urgency in this because you think I've got a whole year to do this...I can start tomorrow or I can start next week...or I can start after my vacation. Breaking it down to monthly goals creates that urgency and will result in more success.
Here are some ideas for a weight loss/ getting healthy goal broken down to monthly goals
This month I will commit to....
- swapping out my high carb breakfast for a healthier high protein/healthy fat breakfast (green smoothies, eggs and sautéed green, protein pancakes....)
- sweating everyday/ get your heart rate up everyday (15-20 minute HIIT workout from YouTube - my favourite way to exercise!, jumping rope, or squats, pushups, etc while watching tv...)
- drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning (easy but effective)
- cutting out alcohol for a month
- swapping out unhealthy evening snack for healthier options (roasted chickpeas, apple with almond butter, macho bread, kale chips....)
- cutting out processed food
If you are like me, you have a big goal and you want to go all in right away (I have a bit of an all or nothing personality). You could still do that but I think it's helpful still to set out one or two goals that are non-negotiables. You may start to lose steam but make sure the one or two goals you set have to stick.
It might be helpful to finish one month and then plan your goals for next month or you can have that mapped out now and tweak as you go if needed. For example, January you succeeded in eating or drinking a healthy breakfast everyday and it has now become a habit so February could be setting a goal for healthy lunches filled with vegetables, protein, healthy fat and possibly small amount of carbs. For this example it would be helpful to list lunch ideas ahead of time.
This is your year! Make it count!