It’s a new year, your list of new year’s resolutions are complete. It’s a new year, new you. You’re ready to knock off your goals and be the person you envision. One of your goals is to be healthier.

If you’re like the majority of Americans, this isn’t the first time you tried to kickstart a healthier lifestyle. Changing your daily habits is difficult. Going to the gym and eating more salads works for a few weeks. But shortly after the new year, you’re back to your old habits.

What can you do to make sure that this is the year, the year you follow through and reach your health goals?

  1. Write Down Your Goals – Don’t just think about your goals. Write them down. Studies show that people who write down their goals achieve more.
  2. Publicly Share Your Goals – If you keep your goals to yourself, there is no accountability. If you share your goals with your friends and family, you’ll feel more pressure to keep working towards your goals. Your friends and family can also support you as you work towards achieving your health goals.
  3. Set Realistic Goals – Don’t let Men’s Fitness or Cosmo dictate what your health goals should be. A healthier you doesn’t necessarily mean six-pack abs. It could simply mean the loss of a few pounds or more exercise in general. Be honest with yourself about where you are and what you can accomplish. If your goal is to lose 70 pounds in 3 months, you’re not being realistic and you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  4. Set Rewards – Give yourself an incentive to achieve your goals, beyond just the satisfaction of achieving the goal. The Freakanomics podcast discuss this in their episode called, “When Willpower Isn’t Enough.” In the program, they discuss temptation bundling, which is the practice of combining a reward with a task that’s undesirable. For example, set a rule that you can’t watch your favorite TV show unless it’s at the gym. Or you can only have a beer if you’ve been to the gym.
  5. Don’t Change Everything At Once – It’s not hard to fall into the trap of wanting to change everything about you all at once. Better diet, more exercise, more sleep, less alcohol. On paper it sounds very good. But if you try to change it all at once, you’ll end up changing none of it. Start with one thing you want to change, like work out more. Focus on this until you get into a regular rhythm. Once this is a daily habit, you can work on another phase of your health like diet.
  6. Find a Partner – You don’t have to try and achieve your goals alone. Find a partner or a group and help each other. Root each other on and getting through the hard parts will be easier.
  7. Break Up Your Goals Into Milestones – Let’s say your goal is to lose 30 pounds over the course of the year. The thought of losing 30 pounds can be daunting. But if you break that down over the course of 12 months, that’s 2.5 pounds a month; or less than a pound a week. All of a sudden, your weight loss goal is much more manageable.

It’s a new year, take advantage of this clean start! Living a healthier life starts with one small step. Your health goals will take time and if you remember this and follow these seven tips, you’ll be much more likely to attain your 2016 health goals.

Photo Courtesy of Curtis Mac Newton 

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