Reach Your Second Half Goals

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

More proof that time flies: 2015 is half over. Yes, the year was half over on June 30. But Independence Day weekend was coming. With the holiday over, you’re in the clear to devote some mental energy to yourself. It’s as perfect an excuse as any to review how you’re progressing towards your annual goals, and also to set some second-half resolutions to meet by December.

Review the resolutions you made back in December and celebrate your successes. If you’ve lost an inch towards your goal of losing 10, or read one of the 50 books you planned to finish this year, you’re on your way. Succeeding in any goal requires support—be your own first line of support, and give yourself a mental high-five for what you did right.

As you consider what you haven’t done yet, do it constructively. Beating yourself up will only discourage further progress, and could add stress to your life—and stress is related to an increase of a chemical called cortisol, which causes your body to store fat. And it could make you less efficient at burning calories. In an Ohio State study, stressed-out dieters burned 104 fewer calories over the seven hours following a meal than those who self-identified as stress-free.

Instead, analyze your “failings” to see how you can improve on the next goal you set. Was the goal or resolution too ambitious? Did it require preparation you didn’t know about or didn’t have? Was it too vague to be measurable? Was it too big a task, without the details required to take it down, brick by brick? Use these “failures” as a framework and springboard for new success—and then forget them.

Now use that information to make your new, second half resolutions list. Take your successes and failures to make new goals that fit the SMART framework: Goals that are specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timebound.

As your set your goals, focus on processes instead of outcomes—instead of saying, as above, that you’ll lose 10 inches by the end of 2015, focus on setting behavioral goals that lead to the result you want. So your new goal might be to go for a 15-minute walk 12 times per month before leaving for work. That exercise could help lead to the inches lost you’re looking for, and helps you repeat the celebrating your started with—each time you tick off a walk, you’ve got a reason to congratulate yourself. And that congratulations will help make your resolution a new habit.