If you are like most people in this country, odds are you made at least one New Year's resolution aimed at improving some aspect of your health. Whether it is losing weight, improving your fitness, eating better or controlling a chronic health condition, your intent was to improve your health, but...
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If you are like most people in this country, odds are you made at least one New Year's resolution aimed at improving some aspect of your health. Whether it is losing weight, improving your fitness, eating better or controlling a chronic health condition, your intent was to improve your health, but right about now these resolutions may be getting old fast and perhaps even on their way to being forgotten until next year. This is an opportune time to reflect on the basic motivation that inspired you to make those resolutions and offer a strategy to keep your good intentions going strong.
Most resolutions are blank statements such as, "I am going to lose 20 pounds." That's a great start, but many people don't have a plan and such resolutions end up being forgotten by Super Bowl Sunday. So let's build on that initial resolution and develop a plan to increase the chances of success.
The key to success is having a plan in place. A successful business has a strategy and plan in place; it is the plan that contributes to the success. This principle can be applied to your personal life as well. Studies conducted in the fitness industry show that people with written plans achieve their goals more consistently than people with no plans. Here is an opportunity to rekindle your motivation to improve your health and develop a plan that will keep the motivation to continue well into the future.
• Motivation — Motivation is one of the most difficult aspects of human nature to understand and nurture. If you don't believe this, just ask your officers or chiefs how difficult it is to understand and tap into a member's motivation. You will hear one of their biggest challenges is to keep their members motivated.
When it comes to your health, your motivation to take control is solely in your power. You need to identify your internal motivation, be it a desire to perform better on the fireground, set an example for others to follow or to feel better about yourself. Say your goal is to run 30 minutes a day four times a week. That's a good goal, but it is time for some introspection and to find out why you want to do it. Maybe it is to improve your endurance on the fireground. Whatever the reason behind your resolution, it is time to find the inner voice speaking to you. This voice tells you why you need to do this and make that New Year's resolution in the first place. It is so important — grab a piece of paper and write it down. It is going to be part of your own personal "business statement," or the foundation on which to develop the plan.
• State your goal — This is the next step of the process. What do you want to accomplish? Lose 15 pounds, increase your fitness, control your blood pressure or eat better? Once again, this is so important, write it down. Now we have the "what" (the goal). Next, we need to know "why" you want to do this (the motivation), so combine the two into one statement. A sample goal statement is (fill in the blanks) "I want to _ because_" or "I will _ so I can _". This is your personal goal and is the foundation for the rest of your plan.
• Make sure your goal is achievable — This is the gut check and can be a setup for failure. If your goal is too grandiose or unrealistic, chances are you are going to become discouraged and give up. If you haven't worked out in years and you want to run a marathon in two months, it just may not be possible to accomplish this goal. A simple five-kilometer race may be more appropriate in this case. Failure will lead to frustration and decrease the chances that you will attempt another try at improving your health. If you are not sure whether your goal is realistic, ask a friend, your spouse, your doctor or a colleague for input. They may give you feedback that your goal is too difficult to achieve and let you modify your goal to increase your chance of success.