Ah, yes, it’s the New Year! What are your intentions for this year? We’ve got some tips to help set your progress towards success. Grab a pen or pencil and something to write on. Let’s get started!
First, let’s set an intention. Intentions give guidelines for priorities in your life. They guide your effort towards achieving a goal. If you need help with figuring out your intention, try the exercise below:
Take a deep breath and relax. While keeping your awareness in your heart, ask yourself what is important to you right now for your health or wellness. Write it down.
If it helps, think of it this way: What do you want to do more of? What do you want to do less of? Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?” Do not be discouraged.
Perhaps it’s feeling more energized, spending more time with loved ones, complaining less, improving sleep quality, eating healthier, exercising on a regular basis, improving mood, having a healthier weight, reducing reactivity to stressful events, or other things. Actually, many of the options listed could be addressed through Tamarkoz, such as increasing positive emotions, feeling energized yet calm, becoming more responsive rather than reactive, reducing stress, improving sleep quality, experiencing gratitude and more.
But let’s get back to setting intentions. If there are multiple areas to focus on, choose one. If you could change one thing in your life right now, what would it be? Which is the most feasible for you? And which is the one you are ready to address? Be honest with yourself.
In this article, we’ll walk you through a road map to personalize your goals and will provide examples. But we encourage you to not copy the examples as your own personal goals. Determine what is best for you to create a path towards your goal. Perhaps your intention is to eat healthier. For someone that may be eating more vegetables, but for another person it could mean eating more protein.
Once you’ve focused on an intention (i.e., I intend to eat healthier), write down one to three goals you would like to achieve in the next 3 months. For example, if the intention is to eat healthier, one to three goals might be eating:
- More green vegetables.
- More fruits.
- Less processed sugar.
You don’t need to completely change your diet overnight or entirely swear off all sweets. Baby steps are key towards success! This allows your mind and body to incrementally adjust to the changes and progress towards your goal.
Successful and sustainable changes are effectively achieved through SMART goals. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for:
Specific. Be as specific as possible! The more specific, the better. What does eating healthy mean for you? What exactly will you eat more of? How often will you eat it? Or what will you eat less of? Have many times a day or week or month?
Measurable. This brings us to the importance of measuring your actions towards the goal. Instead of just saying I will exercise more, make it measurable to say I will walk for 30 minutes.
Attainable. Try not to aim too high or too low. If you are not exercising very much, then setting a goal to exercise at the gym 5 days a week for 60 minutes is too much to start off. Allow yourself to adjust comfortably. So perhaps consider walking for 30 minutes outside.
Realistic. If one’s goal is achieving a healthy weight, that’s great! But attempting to lose more than 1-2 pounds a week is neither realistic nor sustainable. Realistic goals will help you move forward and reinforce your efforts.
Time Specific: Determine the frequency. So for example, “I will walk for 30 minutes, 3 times a day.” Or even better, “I will walk for 30 minutes, 3 times a day at 12pm.” Make it as specific as possible. And track your progress overtime in a journal or an app. Tracking is a form of accountability.
Aside from setting your intentions and developing goals towards them, it’s important to have accountability. We suggest the following techniques:
Sign a personal health behavior contract. We’ve provided a sample below. Try to be as thorough as you can. Identify both the advantages and challenges to achieving your goal. And consider how you will reward yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a trip to Costa Rica next year. Think short-term positive reinforcements. How about treating yourself to a massage? Or starting that book you’ve always wanted? Or visiting a museum or sporting event? Or a short outing to a local coffee shop? Rewarding yourself leads to a boost in self-confidence with well-deserved pride in your accomplishment. Don’t skip it. Everyone enjoys incentives. When we reward ourselves, we’re able to eliminate distractions better which help lessen procrastination as we become more deliberate and focused. So, give yourself a mental break and enjoy a well-earned reward!
Consider asking someone you trust to help keep you accountable. Ask them to gently check-in with you. If you choose to use the contract below, maybe ask them to co-sign your contract as a “witness” . Or maybe they would like to join you in a similar goal-oriented journey. Perhaps they might like to join you for daily walks.
You’ve got this! 2023 is your year. Every day is your day. Use the Tamarkoz App for techniques to help feel confident, be patient, and stay focused on your intended journey towards your goals.
Personal Health Behavior Contract
Based on an awareness of my personal health status, I, _________________________, have decided to set the following health behavior improvement goal, and I will strive to achieve this between the following dates, __________________________. My health behavior goal is ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The advantages to me for achieving this goal are ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The difficulties for me in doing this are ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The ways that I will try to accomplish this health behavior improvement goal are ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If I have achieved this health behavior improvement goal by ________________, I will reward myself by ______________________________________________________________________________________
If I fail to achieve this health behavior improvement goal, I will forfeit this reward.
I, _______________________________________________, have reviewed this contract and I agree to discuss the experience involved in accomplishing or not accomplishing this health behavior improvement with ______________________ on _______________________________.
Signed (witness): ______________________________________________________________.
Phone number/email: __________________________________________________________.