New year, new successes

Goal setting skills will make it possible to turn your aspirations into plans and your plans into successes!

Physical activity often makes it on the New Year’s resolution list. Unfortunately, many fall short of their hopes. How can you be successful?

Goal setting skills are essential to help identify, adopt and maintain healthy behaviors. The critical steps that are needed to achieve both short term and long term health goals are value and importance. Motivation comes from the importance you place on the change you want to see. When a choice is made to create change, confidence will stem from positive preparation. Writing down the answers to key questions will take you from contemplation to action.

Specific – What will you do? It’s not enough to say “I want to walk/ski/swim or run more.”

Measureable How much and how often? Number of days a week, length of time, etc.


Realistic – Where will you do it? Going from the couch to a marathon takes lots of successes along the way. Start with short term goals and build on successes for the longer term.

Timely – When will you start doing it? Specify a date.

You will also want to identify barriers – Plan – Eliminate excuses. Some examples include:

  • A consistent time: Solutions will be individual according to routines and needs. For some, early morning is best, for others lunch may provide an opportunity, and for others evening may work best.
  • Motivation: Don’t go it alone. Partner up with someone that has a similar interest and schedule. When someone else is counting on you, you will be less likely to break your “appointment.”
  • Cost/equipment: New is not necessary. There are great resources online and in resale stores for beginners. Once you’re committed, dedicated and able to save for upgrades it will be rewarding and motivating to invest in gear you are excited to use.
  • Weather: There will be rain, snow and temperature challenges. Having an indoor backup will keep you from scrapping the day and getting off course.

Michigan State University Extension reminds you that as important as physical activity is, it’s also important to consult your physician before beginning a new routine. Goal setting skills will make it possible to turn your aspirations into plans and your plans into successes!

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