It is nearing the three month mark since the start of the year and the time when you decided to challenge yourself to a healthier lifestyle.
Now is the time to check in with your action plan.
Everyone’s health goals and action plan will be unique – as individual as we are. However, there are common areas that we all face in maintaining our focus, following our interventions, and being successful to achieve our goals.
Are Your Efforts Paying Off?
You spent time to carefully consider your health goals and how you could improve your health, weight or chronic medical condition. Then you established both short and long term health goals.
You thought about the best interventions that would be not only be effective for you but fit into your current lifestyle.
You established timelines for evaluating whether or not your actions were completed but also if they were moving you toward your goal. You may have changed some of your interventions during the last three months to increase your success and abandoned what wasn’t working.
You may have completed specific interventions and short term goals and rewarded your accomplishments with predetermined rewards.
Let’s see how you are doing and what more you can do to be successful!
Assessing Your Improvement
In order to be successful, it is important to have reminders of your plan and specific times when you review your progress.
Have you been checking your action plan regularly to monitor your progress?
- Have you gone to the doctor for a health check to see where your health risks were so that you could make the most of lifestyle health changes? Do you need blood work to check cholesterol or blood sugar? Have you had your blood pressure checked? Have you gotten scheduled preventive tests or immunizations?
- If you decided that you would weigh in every week (each Saturday morning, for example), have you been doing it and recording the weight? Did you make yourself a log to record the weight?
- If you decided that you wanted to prepare a menu for the week every Thursday evening so that you can grocery shop on the weekend and then do prep for the upcoming week so that you would eat more meals at home controlling the ingredients for the healthiest menu you can cook, have you been on track?
- Have you enlisted a buddy to remind you of your intervention plan and helped motivate you to stay on plan?
- Have you joined a gym, participated in physical activity according to your plan – day, time and activities? Have you been increasing your activity to get optimal benefit?
- Have you been using safe food handling practices in the kitchen to avoid foodborne illness such as separate cutting boards, storing leftovers within two hours or frequent handwashing?
Adjusting Your Goals and Interventions
Regularly reviewing your goals, both short and long term, as well as interventions to be sure you have done what you committed to do at the start of the New Year is key to be successful.
Once you have reviewed your goals you can begin checking them off as done, need to work on more or need to change or delete.
The goals and interventions you created at the start of the year may not still be a priority. Perhaps something has changed since then that requires a change in course. That is OK and important for you to re-evaluate and alter course for your continued health.
Have there been obstacles that have kept you from completing a specific intervention? Have you identified impediments to success with regular reviews of your action plan?
Adjust your goals and specific interventions for success:
- It may have taken you longer to get an appointment for the doctor to get a checkup than you imagined at the start of the year. Now that you have visited the doctor, have you completed all the prevention and testing procedures recommended by the doctor yet? Have you gotten results back that now need to be incorporated into your plan? Is your cholesterol fine but your blood pressure high so that some of your interventions need adjustments? Perhaps instead of focusing on the fat in your meals you need to cut back on the salt now. It is time to adjust your interventions.
- If you wanted to weigh in weekly, do you have an accurate scale to weigh yourself? Do you have a log created (a piece of paper will do)? Have you remembered to weigh yourself each week on your scheduled day? Have you been losing weight according to your short term plan or have you been doing better than you imagined and now need to adjust the goals? Do you need different action steps to speed up weight loss such as increasing the number of days you are active or the minutes of activity you complete? Do you need cross training or aerobic activities now that you didn’t include in the original plan? It is time to adjust interventions to attain your weight change goals.
- Is your Thursday too busy to make a menu for the upcoming week or do you find you have more time on Tuesday evening or during your lunch hour during the week? Adjust your interventions to insure your success. Do you need more recipes before you can make your menu or shopping list? When can you plan to search for healthy recipes, where is a good source for healthy recipes, or do you need a Recipe Renovation on your family favorites? Do you have kids who want to be more involved in meal planning and preparation? Make some additional interventions to help you be successful with home meal preparation.
- Was it harder to find a supportive buddy than you thought at the start of the year? Have you asked a few more family members or friends to join your health journey? Do you need to keep asking?
- Have you gotten the cooking bug and decided to learn more not only about safe food handling but also cooking techniques and new skills? Is it time to add cooking classes to your action plan?
Overcoming Obstacles to Success
Every one of your short and long term goals, plus each intervention on your action plan, has the potential to become an obstacle that you find difficult to overcome for one reason or another.
Is there a family member, friend or co-worker who seems to be sabotaging your efforts? This is not an uncommon perception for many people who are trying to stay true to their action plan. It is vital that your find ways to cope with people who are working against not with you. However, remember that these people can’t harm you without your permission.
Your choices are still in your control, not theirs. If they bring you doughnuts at work, no one is forcing you to eat them. If your spouse wants to go out to fast food, there are choices on those menus that you can make and still stay on your plan. If your buddy doesn’t want to exercise anymore, find another one who does.
Enlisting Help in Meeting Goals
Is it taking longer to prepare a weekly menu or grocery list and doing the meal preparation than you originally thought? Are there ways that you can streamline your process? Can you enlist someone in the family to help?
If you standardize a pantry list and let one of the kids check off what is there and what isn’t, will this make the shopping list easier to create? Do you have a running list of what food is needed from the start of the week as your starting point? Can the kids help prepare some items with you on the weekend for the upcoming week? Can you cook once to eat twice and freeze the second batch for a ready meal to plug into an upcoming menu?
Have you set up reminders in the calendar of your phone for weigh ins, doctor appointments, home blood pressure readings, physical activity, personal care, checking your action plan and rewarding your efforts? Using technology can be very helpful to keep you focused and on track with your action plan.
Obstacles to success should not be the end of the road or a reason to stop. They should be looked upon as challenges to overcome. Be creative with solutions to cope with obstacles.
“Challenges are what makes life interesting.
Overcoming them is what makes it meaningful.”
“You are greater than any obstacle.”
Celebrating Your Wins
Achieving your goals is a time for celebration. Actually, achieving each intervention should be celebrated!
You have to relish in the wins — small and large — as you continue in your journey for health!
Don’t wait until you reach the end zone before you reward your achievements! It is important to be proud of your accomplishments every step along the way!
Refer back to your action plan and honor your reward plan. Is it time for a new outfit, weekend away, new piece of kitchen equipment or whatever it is that you love? Don’t skimp on yourself.
Also, don’t sabotage your own achievements with rewards that are unhealthy for you! You are worth staying on track even as you win!
If you haven’t put all these steps down on paper, now is a good time to begin. You can create goals even if the calendar doesn’t say January 1. Every day is the right day to get started, each new morning is an opportunity to make choices to be a healthier you!