It's almost February.  New Year's Resolutions may be a distant memory. Research consistently proves that a small percentage of people who make resolutions actually achieve them—something like 10 to 12%–with most having abandoned them by the end of January.  Not exactly a recipe for success.

We all have goals.  But often in our work lives, the goals we are trying to accomplish are performance-related, productivity related and salary related.  But I would encourage you to think this year about your own health.  After all, without your health, all your other goals won’t matter.

Here are a few suggestions for setting your goals to move toward better health.

  1. Lead by example.

Whether it’s at home or work, people notice.  Consider the positive impact you could have by leading by example. Set the tone for your family or co-workers this year and make your good health your top priority.  You must take care of your body because the day will come a time when it will no longer tolerate your indifference. 

  1. Be decisive.

You are the only one who can determine what you want to work toward, why you want it, and how you plan to accomplish it.  If your goal doesn’t come from you, it’s unlikely that you’ll be successful.  Decide that you are ready. If your healthcare provider has suggested that “It’s time to quit smoking,” it won’t matter unless YOU want to do it.  (But please consider it!)

  1. Keep it simple.

You’ll get into trouble when you make your goal so complicated or so lofty that just telling someone seems overwhelming.  Saying “I want to get back to my high school weight” (who wouldn’t?) or “I want to reduce my stress,” or “I want to eat right” are all very worthy goals, but are too general.  Over 66% of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese, so weight loss is frequently ‘on the list.’ But you need to set reasonable goals and keep it simple. 

  1. Write it down.

I don’t know about you, but at this point in my life, if I don’t write things down, I can easily forget.  As they say, “out of sight, out of mind.”  If you make the conscious act of writing your goal down and then place it where you’ll see it regularly, it will remind you that you are working toward something.  It will also give you a point of reflection next year. 

  1. Make a plan.

Just because you want it to happen, doesn’t mean it will.  You have to make a plan. It’s unlikely that announcing, “I’m going to run a marathon” will make it happen.  After deciding on a goal you have to figure out the steps needed to move you toward it.  This isn’t the sexy part of making the goal; this is the getting down to the nitty-gritty.  But without the steps, you have no road map to get there.  Take the time, make the plan.   

  1. Measure it.

In order to feel like you’re making progress, it helps to be able to gauge where you are in your journey and more importantly, when you’ve reached it so if necessary, you can continue on—-knowing that you’ve been successful.  Lowering cholesterol, losing weight, or getting that annual mammogram can be measured.  Even if it’s just ten points or ten pounds.

  1. Tell someone, tell everyone! 

Don’t keep a secret when it comes to announcing your goals.  It’s been proven that when you make a goal public, you are more likely to keep working toward it. So, make a trip to your primary healthcare provider and tell her/him what your health goals are.  Make yourself accountable.  Tell your co-workers, tell your family.  Tell everyone!

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail.

We’re human.  We have lives, we get distracted.  Fear of failure is one of the reasons most folks don’t even try, but the truth is, there are very few of us who accomplish something of importance on our very first attempt.   Most smokers make at least four attempts to quit before they are successful.  The important thing is that if you do fail, or get sidetracked, that you get back on track.  Don’t beat yourself up; that won’t get you anywhere closer to your goal.  Keep moving forward.  

  1. Celebrate your success.

It’s no fun if you accomplish a goal and no one knows about it.  Especially if you have involved and told your family, friends, or co-workers.  Be proud of your accomplishment and celebrate your hard work and results! You deserve it!

Best wishes for a happy, prosperous, and healthy, healthy, 2016! Feliz Año Nuevo!!