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Making positive steps toward health goals

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With a new year often comes resolutions and Alberta Health Services (AHS) is sharing tips to help residents successfully achieve health goals.

AHS suggests the use of goals to chart your path to success. Two types of goals can help you do this: long-term and short-term.

“Don't forget to write down your goals,” stated an AHS release. “They may change, but you'll want a record. Writing them down is a great way to start your plan to improve your health.”

No matter what your health goal is, the release said, creating a specific plan can help you succeed. Following the steps bellow from AHS to create your plan can put you on a path toward meeting your goal:

Step 1: Know your reason.

Why is this change important to you? Make sure it’s something that you really want to do.

Step 2: Set a specific long-term goal.

A long-term goal is not something you can do all at once. It's the goal that inspires you and that will show how far you've come when you complete it. It's usually a goal you hope to reach in six months or a year. This type of goal could include walking for one hour, three times a week. To keep going, think how proud you'll be when you reach this goal.

When you reach your goal, you can keep things fresh by setting new ones.

Step 3: Set short-term goals

Short-term goals help you accomplish your long-term goal. They keep you going day to day. They are usually goals you hope to reach tomorrow or next week.

One example would be to start using the stairs at work, or to take one 10-minute walk and build up to walking three times a week. Short-term goals should be easy to do and will grow as you make progress.

Step 4: Prepare for setbacks

What might get in the way of your reaching this goal? You may already know that things like time, money or emotions could get in the way. Think of strategies to overcome these obstacles and don't give up if/when you do encounter a setback.

Step 5: Plan support and rewards

Who can help you meet your goals? Maybe friends, family, or a support group? And how will you reward yourself? A movie, a special meal or an hour to yourself can be a treat.

Step 6: See your success

Visualize how your life be different after you make this change and keep that front of mind as you work toward the goal.

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