“It’s important to think about what specifically you want to change,” says Dr. Cruz. Goals should be focused, clear, and well-defined with an action plan, according to a paper published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. If your goal is a broader, longterm one, then your plan would consist of short-term goals, with detailed steps.
Define your goals in a way that allows you to measure success. For example, if you want to exercise more, choose how many days in the week you want to work out, and for how long. For example, if you commit to taking a 30-minute walk three times a week for the next month, that is a measurable goal that you will clearly “know whether you accomplished it or not,” says Dr. Cruz.
Dr. Cruz advises to “start small, which lets you have the opportunity to test things out and get a sense on whether the plan is working for you. You should be able to carry out the goals.” Action plans can help you understand if and how your goals can be achieved and can be modified to help you attain them.
It’s important for your goal to be within reach, realistic, and aligned with your life purpose. “They should be relevant to you,” says Dr. Cruz. “That’s the motivation piece.”
This could be a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency. “You should be able to have something set up, so that you know you are changing or have changed and to feel reinforced,” says Dr. Cruz.