Mid-Week Check In

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 As I began my own journey with this Lifestyle Challenge, I hit a stumbling block right out of the gate – my beloved multigrain breakfast cereal has more grams of sugar than the allotted 4 grams (or less) of sugar per serving! I suddenly realized how truly important it is to surround yourself with good food in your home so that you are conducting this challenge in an encouraging rather than discouraging environment. And speaking of encouragement, I hope you all are being your own cheerleaders through this. Keep in mind that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes – every one of us does. If you do, don’t berate yourself. Pick yourself up and move on. Try to avoid extreme ways of thinking such as, “I had that cookie after lunch so now my whole day is blown. I might as well have pizza for dinner now.” Or, “Well, it’s only Tuesday and I have already failed at one of the challenges so I might as well start over next week.” If you slip, get a grip. Treat it as a one-time instance and stay the course. Some improvements are better than no improvements.  The article below shares some wise recommendations for creating new goals and sticking to them. I wish you all the best of luck as you continue this journey with me!

The Trick to Real and Lasting Lifestyle Changes

Regardless of the time of year that we decide to eat better, exercise more, or be less stressed, it can be hard to make a lifestyle change, and even harder to make it stick.

But there is a way to up your chances of success. Experts say efforts to change are more likely to produce results if they are SMART — that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. If you’re thinking of making a change, see if your goal can pass the SMART test:

  1. Set a very specific goal. For example: I will add one fruit serving — that’s half a cup, chopped — to my current daily diet.
  2. Find a way to measure progress. For example, I will log my efforts each day on my calendar.
  3. Make sure it’s achievable. For example, don’t set a goal of a daily 5 mile run if you’re out of shape. If you can’t safely or reasonably accomplish your goal, set a smaller, achievable one.
  4. Make sure it’s realistic. It may seem counterintuitive, but choosing the change you most need to make — let’s say, quitting smoking or losing weight — isn’t as successful as choosing the change you’re most confident you’ll be able to make. Focus on sure bets: if you picture a 10-point scale of confidence in achieving your goal, where 1 equals no confidence and 10 equals 100% certainty, you should land in the 7-to-10 zone. An additional fruit serving a day is a small, manageable step toward better health.
  5. Set time commitments. Pick a date and time to start. For example, Wednesday at breakfast, I’ll add frozen blueberries to cereal. Pick regular check-in dates: I’ll check my log every week and decide if I should make any changes in my routines to succeed. Find an outside deadline that will help keep you motivated. For example, signing up for a charity run or sprint triathlon on a certain date prods you to get a training program under way. 

           http://www.health.harvard.edu

 

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