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Published on January 05, 2018

woman eating healthy food

Whittle Down Big Goals For New Year Success

The items on your New Year’s resolution radar might be too big – or too vague – to set yourself on a good path toward better health in 2018.

Avera Integrative Medicine Health Coach Becky Hanzen said whittling might not be a pastime you enjoy, but it makes sense when it comes to success-shaping your goals for more energy, weight loss or overall well-being in this New Year.

“Build up a list, and then whittle the items on the list down to their essential elements,” said Hanzen, who works with the Avera Ideal Living Program for Weight Loss, helping coach people along their journeys every day. “If you just say lose 50 pounds – you might need to break that into several smaller pieces – look to lose the first five pounds initially, and then work forward from that point.”

Breaking Down Each Part of Formula

Weight loss is still among the top goals for people when it comes to the first page in the calendar, Hanzen said. But the formula for reaching it is made up of a number of components, and each of those can be whittled as well, she said.

“Let’s look at energy levels – if you want more energy in 2018, what are ways you can do that? It could be adjusting your schedule for better rest, it could be more exercise,” she said. “If you are going to exercise more, you again can pare it down. How often will you go? For how long? What sorts of variety will you add to your routine? All of these smaller questions are important to sort through before aiming at the bigger goal.”

Realism in resolutions is not rocket science, Hanzen said, but she reminds us all the necessity of keeping track and having some sense of responsible regard.

“If you’re looking to lose weight, there’s really nothing better than food journals. If it goes in your mouth, it goes into your journal,” she said. “It can help you cut calories, reduce or remove sugar. If a pen and paper seems old-fashioned, you can use a tracking app on your phone like My Fitness Pal – it’s one I recommend regularly and it helps you track carbs, sugar and protein. You keep track and you’re less likely to punt on your new and developing better habits.”

Friends Make Everything Better

Being human is really hard. So buddying-up with a spouse, friend or coworker can keep you on track.

“If I don’t show up to one of my yoga classes, my friends there are going to give me a little grief the next time, and that helps me to keep going. I know they are expecting me,” she said. “So share the goals you have – see if others are doing the same and help each other keep on target.”

Realize as well that when you’re trying to change your habits and routines, the phantom of failure may crop up. Here’s where you can out-plan your fears to avoid triggers.

“Planning can help – do you have healthy snacks in your work area and car? Plan your meals for a week and journal what you eat – just for a week,” she said. “Then build from there. Small victories can help you avoid surrendering altogether. Remember to be kind to yourself, too. Remember, it’s hard being human – so be realistic and steady. You can achieve your goals – many people have done it before you. Now’s your chance to do the same.”

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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