Get to your goals

The new year’s a great opportunity for a fresh start when it comes to your health. Like many
people, you may make resolutions with great enthusiasm. But enthusiasm alone doesn’t always
lead to success. To succeed in reaching your goals this year, ask yourself these two important

  1. Is your health goal a behavior or an outcome?A behavior is something you can do. An outcome is the intended result of your behavior over
    a period of time. You can generally control your behavior, but there are many factors outside
    of your control that can impact the outcome. And that can be discouraging. So set goals that
    focus on behaviors rather than outcomes. Consider these examples:Outcome goal: I will lose 25 pounds this year.
    Instead, try this behavior goal: When I eat dinner at home, I will use a salad plate rather than
    a dinner plate to limit my portion size.

    Outcome goal: I will have stress-free workdays from now on.
    Instead, try this behavior goal: I will do 10 minutes of relaxation exercise during lunch at
    work every day.

  2. Does your environment support you in reaching your goal?
    Your environment has a powerful impact on your ability to reach your goals.Physical environment: Do your physical surroundings help or hurt your ability to make a
    change? What do you need to add or remove to have the support you need? For instance,
    if your goal is to quit smoking, try removing cigarettes from your home and stocking up on
    healthy snacks and gum to get through cravings.Social environment: Do the people you encounter regularly help or hurt your ability to reach
    your goal? Who should you try to spend more — or less — time with to get the support you
    need? In the smoking example, consider spending less time with people who smoke around
    you a lot and more time with people who support you in your efforts to quit.