50 Goals for a Healthier, Happier You: Part 1 (Introduction and Goals 1-10)
New Year, New You
It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and start setting goals for change that they’ll likely give up before the month is out. Why is this? Why do people so often fail to make their resolutions stick? Probably because they’re not making SMART goals.
Now wait a minute before you begin thinking my last statement was an insult. Notice that the word SMART is in all capital letters. No, I’m not screaming at you on the Internet. It’s a mnemonic device:
The goals that are most often seen through to completion are the goals that have all five of these qualities. The key here is to take as much control as possible over the goal setting and achieving.
Need some examples of SMART goals you can set for yourself this new year? Here are 50 I've come up with off the top of my head. This should be enough to get you started. Think of anything I didn't include here? Add it in the comment box!
GOAL 1: Take a daily multivitamin
No one gets enough vitamins by consuming our modern diet, and most vitamins you can’t get too much of, anyway, even if your diet is stellar. Your body expels any excess vitamins just like it gets rid of any other waste product, with the possible exception of Vitamin A. Vitamin overdosing and poisoning is still a very rare occurrence.
Already taking a daily multivitamin? Good for you! Consider adding a little fun to the mix by switching out your old formula with gummy vitamins (yes, they make gummy vitamins for adults). I got some for my three-year-old and some for myself so that we can both take our vitamins together.
GOAL 2: Read a new book.
And keeping reading new (or at least new-to-you) books - one each week/month/whatever your schedule will allow.
Fiction or nonfiction? That’s up to you. Or, even better, read at least one of each every month. Your brain and your imagination will both be sharpened, and you’ll get a bit more of an escape from the mundane world.
GOAL 3: Learn a different language.
What??? I thought these goals were supposed to be easily attainable.
Well, okay, how about this:
Learn one new phrase in a different language. For example, “I love you.” Do you know how to say that in French? German? Italian? Spanish? Portuguese? Swahili?
GOAL 4: Eat more fruits and vegetables each day.
This is a necessary goal for those of us (myself included) who do not get enough fruits and vegetables in our diets.
And, no, a V-8 will not count, although it is pretty yummy. Way, way too much salt! If you really can't stand to eat your vegetables and feel like juice is the only way to go, get your own juicer.
Do you eat five to nine servings of fruits and veggies each day? Yes? Wow! Congratulations! Ignore this goal and go on to something else.
GOAL 5: Blow bubbles daily/weekly/however often you want.
Go to the dollar store, get a package (or several) of bubbles, and blow!
This is a fun, stress-relieving activity for all ages, and if you have kids around, it can be even more fun (and you’ll probably feel a little less silly doing it).
GOAL 6: Give something away.
Now this could be a one-time thing or a daily activity, whichever you decide to make it. And it doesn't even have to be anything big. Give the stranger passing you on the street a stick of gum.
It'll make you feel better about yourself to give to someone else - especially if you happen to be giving away the annoying singing Christmas socks your Aunt Doris give you (for the third year in a row).
And, if you join free auction sites like Listia, you can actually give things away and get stuff in return. So, you're giving and getting. Can't beat that!
GOAL 7: Say one nice thing every day.
There's enough negativity in the world today. Have you noticed? So do your part to fight in and spread a little positivity.
Pick one person each day - it can be the same person or a different person each day - and say something nice to that person. Compliment their eyes, their fashion sense, their uncanny ability to sound just like Roy Orbison during karaoke - anything.
A word of caution, though, if you choose to spread the positivity in the workplace: Be very careful about saying something nice to members of the opposite sex. Today's society being what it is, you could (unfortunately) find yourself being the defendant in a sexual harrassment case or (at the very best) the object of someone's misguided - and possibly inappropriate - romantic overtures. Sad, but true.
Feeling a little down? Say something nice about yourself - to yourself or someone else. You have to be able to find at least one positive thing you can say, even if it's, "Hey, I did a good job picking matching socks today!" Your perspective will immediately change, and you'll get an instant mood boost!
GOAL 8: Lose five pounds in one month.
Many people make a New Year's resolution to "lose weight," but not very many actually make a resolution to lose "x number of pounds." That's automatically going against the first point of SMART goal setting. It's not a specific enough goal.
Why did I suggest that you make a goal of losing five pounds in a month? Because, from my personal experience, five pounds in a month is certainly easily attainable (the "A" principle), and it's also more relevant (the "R" principle) than losing that much weight more quickly.
Losing five pounds in two days? Probably not likely to happen, and if it does, it's most likely water weight which is very easy to put back on again. Losing five pounds in a week - a little better, but still not very sustainable. Losing five pounds in two weeks? Very possible. I've done it fairly successfully following the free SparkPeople plan. I also did it with the Nutrisystem diet, although this is a much more expensive way to lose weight.
If you make small lifestyle changes (cutting a few calories here and there and stepping up the exercise a bit), you should be able to easily lose five pounds in a month (maybe even more), and you should be able to keep it off. Also, by the end of that month, you should have a pretty good idea of what works for you, so you can come up a sustainable, healthy weight loss plan that you can continue to use if you need to lose more than five pounds.
GOAL 9: Get a pet.
It's a scientifically proven fact. People with pets live longer, and they're healthier happier while they're doing it.
Pets are natural antidepressants and stress relievers. Dogs and cats and (arguably) fish, also provide an attentive ear to listen to you voice all your concerns and problems (although they may not offer much in the way of real advice or counsel).
Which pet is right for you? It really depends on your living situation. Do you live in a 300-sq-foot apartment? You might not want to get a big old German Shepherd, although they are beautiful animals. Do you have curious babies and toddlers running around? You might not want to get a poisonous snake as a pet.
You also need to keep in mind how much care you are willing (and able) to give to your pet. Some people may not be able to add a live pet to the household. If that's your current situation, skip on down to goal number 10. Or consider getting one of the super-cool pet rocks!
GOAL 10: Play a board game.
Get away from the computer and other electronic devices for a bit and dig out your old board games. Or get some new ones if you don't know where your old ones are.
Board games like Life and Monopoly can help you exercise your problem solving skills, plus they are really fun, so they will help you reconnect with your inner child.
And, I know most board games say they are for two or more players, but you can play them by yourself. Really. I know. I've done it before. I'm an only child. Now, granted, I used to make up imaginary people to play with me just so I could keep the competitive edge going, but you don't really need to do that.
If your family and/or friends are too busy or unwilling to play a game with you, you can do it on your own. Even if you only go one round, you'll reap some (possibly surprising) cognitive and emotional benefits.
When I originally came up with the idea for this hub, I thought I would just write a quick list of 50 goals and be done with it. But I forgot one very important thing: I don't roll like that.
So, considering that this hub is already this length, I thought it would be best to break the list of 50 down into five easily digestible hubs.
What can you expect in the next hub? Here's a little preview of some of the goals: dance in the rain, drink more water, get colored contact lenses, and turn off the TV.
If you've liked what you seen so far in this hub, take a look at the next set of goals. Coming soon ...
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