Most people like to set goals at the start of a new year. There is certainly nothing wrong with deciding what you would like to accomplish in 2017. However, it is important to consider what goals are reasonable. Here are my guidelines when making setting your goals:

  1. Make your goals specific. If your goal is too broad or generic, you can’t really know if you are meeting it. For example, if you want to eat healthier, make the goal “Limit fast food consumption to once per month.” If you want to lose weight, make the goal “Lose 2 pounds per month.”

  2. Measure your goals. Use something that allows you to track whether you are meeting your goal. It may be weighing yourself once per week or keeping a food journal if your goals involve weight. If you work on a goal for two or three months and find you aren’t meeting it, reassess what you are doing or change the goal to be more achievable.

  3. Be reasonable. Big goals aren’t better goals! If you set an unreasonable goal, you are unlikely to meet it and begin to feel unworthy, which can cause bad habits to surface.

  4. Never say never. When you use the word “never,” you limit the success of your goal. Because if you stray from your goal even once, you think you have failed! Additionally, human nature just doesn’t like being told it can’t ever do something again. As soon as you say “never”, it’s the first thing you think about!

  5. Find someone to help keep you accountable. It can be hard to find someone you are willing to share your goals with, but this can have many benefits. If you find someone trustworthy, consider telling him or her your goals and ask for help in keeping you accountable. This will remind you that you aren’t the only person thinking of your goals. If you have access to a registered dietitian or nurse, visiting with them monthly can help you stay on your goals if they relate to medical issues or diet.

I wish you all luck in meeting some, if not all, of your goals this year. Just remember, you are already taking a positive step by setting goals and looking at what you can do to make your life better! Give yourself credit for the little things! And good luck!