Article By: Maria Tucker, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDCES
Maria Tucker is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 20 years of experience assisting patients with diabetes, obesity, and nutrition-related conditions.
Here we are again at the end of another year! Most of us at this time are so busy with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we may not have thought about setting goals for the coming year. It is something we dread doing or tend to put off. However, if you want to make 2024 your best year, taking time to give some thought to your goals for 2024 is a must. To help you turn 2024 into a great year for your health, here are some tips:
1) Assess what went well for you in 2023. Did you achieve your health goals? What were your small victories this past year? Celebrate these small accomplishments – they can help you get excited about working on your goals this year. What gave you energy and kept you motivated? Even the smallest achievement can help keep you going this new year. Think about who or what helped you stay focused on your goals – your desire to improve your health, your children, your dream of being able to run a marathon, etc. Whatever it was that got you going last year, keep it in mind, but ask yourself if you still get motivated by the same thing. If the answer is NO, find another reason to help you this year.
2) Think about what didn’t go well for you this past year. Was it hard for you to stay focused? What barriers did you have to overcome? What drained your energy and kept you from o moving forward or reaching your goals? Write down the barriers that kept you from reaching your goals and steps for you to overcome them. For example, if time was a constraint that kept you from planning meals or engaging in physical activity, think about your daily schedule and activities. Do you see a few minutes on your schedule to do a quick walk or a few reps of resistance band exercises? What about 5 minutes before bed to prep your lunch for the next day? Schedule these into your calendar and set alarms to remind you to do them.
3) Set small goals and remember the SMART goals principle. Set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and with a set Time to achieve them. Have an action plan with at least 3 steps you can do to help you reach your goal. For example, if you set a goal to do better with planning meals, part of your action plan could be to 1) set aside an hour on Sundays to cook a big batch of an entrée, portioning it out and saving into single-serve containers and stored in the freezer; 2) stocking your pantry with ready to drink high protein shakes to use as meal replacements; 3) purchasing high protein snacks, such as protein bars, cheese crisps, protein chips, single-serve nut packs, etc. As my favorite quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
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4) Minimize. Sometimes, we have the good intention to work on goals but take on too many that we end up not achieving any! Think about what matters most to you. Write down up to 10 things you want to work on this year and number them 1 to 10, based on what is the most to least important goal for you to accomplish. Work on the top 3 things on your list and leave the rest for another time.
5) Finally, treat yourself to some R&R. Small treats like a mani-pedi, a massage, a new pair of work out shoes, even a few minutes spent soaking in the tub with your favorite bath bubbles can do wonders to relieve stress and re-charge your mind and body. Don’t think of it as being selfish – it’s self-care!
Here's to a healthy and happy New Year!
BariMelts provides general recommendations, not to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor.