Summer Goals for a Healthier You


Edited by: ERINN BOON

Schools out for the summer! You worked hard all year, but you put in those extra study hours in during finals week while sleep and exercise took the backseat. Like many other college students, including myself, it was staying up late trying to finish that research paper or cramming in the extra vocabulary words before the exam the following day. You were probably running on caffeine, mindlessly snacking and maybe even had the local pizza place on speed dial in your cell. This chunk of time seemed short, however, your health was definitely not a priority. Now summer is here and you still may feel like your diet and exercise routine is being neglected. It’s time to get back on track and start fresh!

Many people want to transform themselves during the summer in hopes of walking through those doors in the fall feeling renewed and looking great. You just need some motivation to get back on track, but the question that may be going through your mind is: “where do I start?” Susan B. Wilson and Michael S. Dobson, the authors of Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals, say, “people who most frequently reach their goals are those who write them down and develop the plans to reach them.”

Whether it is about losing weight, eating better, exercising more, overcoming weaknesses or reducing stress in your life, an article from by Gregory E. Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine and Heather Chambliss, PhD – Exercise Science, offered six quick tips on how to set attainable goals:

  1. Focus on small goals. This will help you reach larger goals over time. With smaller goals, you’ll have success more often, which will help you stay with it.
  2. Write down your goals. This will help you remember, and you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want to achieve. Use a personal action plan to record your goals. Put your plan where you will see it often. It will remind you of what you’re trying to do.
  3. Make your goals specific. Specific goals help you measure your progress. For example, setting a goal to walk 30 minutes a day is better than a general goal to “get more exercise.”
  4. Focus on one goal at a time. By doing this, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and eventually give up.
  5. Reward yourself. Celebrate when you meet your goal! Give yourself a small reward for your accomplishment.
  6. After you reach a goal, set a new one. This keeps you moving forward.

It’s all about the small steps toward a healthier you. Remember, it doesn’t happen overnight. You will have those days where you feel unmotivated, like you are back in finals week, but that is OK because we are all human and will come across obstacles. When these obstacles arise they can drain our energy, our time and our zest. A person can become aware of their own obstacles by reflecting on their daily routine. For example, I have realized that I have a major sweet tooth and tend to sleep in during the summer. To overcome these obstacles we must learn from yesterday and concentrate on what our goal for today is, while keeping in mind that tomorrow is another day to seize a new recipe or workout.

Summer is a time to hit the pavement running, get back on track, change those old habits and begin a new journey. As a Chinese philosopher, Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

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