The New Year can be a time to rethink goals and set new ones, especially if you got off track during the holidays.
Setting SMART goals can help you lose weight and improve health. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
There are many ways that you can make healthy choices easier, such as by having healthy foods in your home, planning exercise ahead of time, and getting enough sleep.
Your Lark coach can help you set and achieve weight loss and health goals with small changes that can become habits.
Happy New Year! You’re in the right place if you’re ready to make this one your healthiest yet - without deprivation. Small changes to your daily life and having treats you love, can lead to long-term weight loss and improved health. Here’s how you can get ready.
Setting SMART Goals
Whether you call them New Year’s resolutions, new goals, or refreshed goals, you can set SMART goals that can put you on the path to success.
Here’s what to think about when setting SMART goals.
Specific: You know exactly what the goal is. For example, rather than “eat healthier,” it may be to “eat more vegetables.”
Measurable: How will you know if you’re hitting your goal? A measurable goal may be to “eat vegetables twice a day, five days a week.”
Achievable: If you love cereal and fruit for breakfast, it may not be achievable to have vegetables three times a day. A twice-daily goal may be more achievable.
Realistic: It’s not realistic to eat vegetables every day if you regularly have days without them. Having them twice daily, five days a week, gives you a cushion where you can have your typical days without vegetables.
Time-Bound: When will you achieve your goal? It may be, for example, after you eat vegetables twice a day, five days a week, for a month.
Rest assured that you can make small changes that fit into your lifestyle, and you can still see results that are meaningful. Weight loss, increased energy, reduced health risks, and other benefits are all possible with small changes.
Here are several examples of changes that can help, but that may not be too hard to make.
Cook at home more often, such as bringing your lunch to work instead of going out at least one extra time per week.
Order smaller sizes of high-calorie foods, such as having a small instead of large popcorn at the movies, or a 12-ounce instead of 16-ounce mocha.
Make healthy food swaps, such as reduced-fat instead of full-fat dairy, skinless or lean chicken or meat, and whole-grain bread, pasta, and rice.
Add 5 minutes to your regular walks.
Cut dessert in half and add fruit.
You can also manage stress by meditating, talking with friends, exercising, breathing deeply, and using Lark.
Turning Healthy Changes into Habits
Once changes become a habit, they take less effort to make and are more sustainable. Here are some tips for establishing habits.
Pair new habits with old ones. For example, weigh yourself in the morning when you brush your teeth.
Set reminders, such as timers on your phone. For example, you might have the timer go off every hour to remind you to drink a few ounces of water, or every half hour during work hours to remind you to stand up and stretch.
Use sticky notes to remind you. Post them where you’ll see them, such as on the fridge to remind you to eat fruit and vegetables for snack, or in the car to remind you to take a route that doesn’t go past the doughnut shop.
Replace unwanted habits with desired ones instead of trying to eliminate unwanted habits and leaving an empty space.
Most importantly, don’t give up. You’ll almost certainly miss out on your healthy behavior change many, many times. Every time, you have a chance to start over. Here are 10 habits for weightloss.
Hacks for Making Healthy Choices Easier
The easier you make it, the better you’ll do. Here are some ways you can make healthy choices easier.
Stock up on healthy foods. Make sure your fridge, freezer, and pantry have healthy foods so you can always find a healthy snack or make a healthy meal when you need one. When possible, get less healthy foods out of the home. Otherwise, get them out of sight and put healthier foods within reach.
Organize your kitchen. A neat, clean kitchen can help prevent mindless snacking. Here are more tips for keeping your kitchen friendly for weight loss and health.
Plan ahead. Schedule workouts in your calendar, make a grocery list, and check restaurant menus before you go. Whenever you can plan ahead, you have more time to make a good decision.
Log and track. Log your meals and physical activity, and weigh yourself regularly. When you log with Lark, you can get more personalized coaching, stay more accountable, and increase awareness of your progress.
Tell others about your goals and strategies. Telling others lets them help you achieve your goals, and it helps hold yourself accountable.
Get enough sleep. Getting adequate sleep is a healthy choice in itself, and it makes other healthy choices easier. Getting enough sleep helps reduce hunger, improve blood sugar control, and reduce cravings.
Make it enjoyable. Ask others to take walks with you, try new activities until you find some that you love, and check for delicious recipes that include nutritious vegetables, lean proteins, and high-fiber carbs.
Buy what you need. Is it a nice outfit for working out, leak-proof containers to hold your lunch, or a water bottle that reminds you to drink? Small items can make a big difference.
Plan for treats. Foods you love, regular days off from exercise, and healthy rewards when you hit goals can all keep you on your plan.
Use Lark. Check in with Lark 24/7 to get coaching on weight loss and other goals.
How Lark Can Help
A new year can come with new health goals and the chance to start fresh. Your Lark coach is available 24/7 to help turn healthy choices in nutrition, physical activity, and overall lifestyle into habits for long-term success. When you make small changes regularly and use Lark, you can achieve your goals.
Click here to see if you may be eligible to join Lark today!
Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.