Psoriasis Awareness Month is here, and along with it comes our wellness challenge. If you’ve been thinking of taking the challenge, you may have also been thinking, “Where do I start? How do I do this?”
We turned to Dr. Will Meek for advice. Meek is a counseling psychologist in Vancouver, Washington, who has written extensively about motivation and goal-setting. Here are his top four tips to help you get up and go:
1. Pick a limited number of goals to work toward.
Pumped up about the Wellness Challenge? Don’t let your enthusiasm get the best of you. “Research shows that two to three goals should be your maximum,” Meek said. “People who narrow their goals down are more likely to succeed than people who try to do it all. This is why we so often fail at New Year’s resolutions. Ten resolutions are overwhelming. Two are doable.”
Which goals should you choose? “The ones that are most needed, or the ones you’re most likely to do,” Meek explained. If your main problem is being overweight, for example, start by eating differently and getting more exercise. Or if you don’t like exercising alone but you do like working out in a group, stick with a group.
2. Make your goals achievable.
"Be honest with yourself,” Meek said. “Are you more likely to hike a hundred miles a day or just try to get outside and move more?” He also suggested being as specific as possible. For example, “I will go to the gym three times a week for 30 minutes each time.” If you decide at the start that you’re going to go jogging twice a day every day, or some other overly ambitious plan, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
1. Keep going, no matter what.
Did you suffer a setback or miss a target? Don’t give up the ship! Sure, today you blew your diet with those donuts, or you messed up your workout schedule because you had too much to do. “Immediately recommit after a slip-up,” Meek said. “Tell yourself, ‘Yes, I could’ve done better today, but I’ll do better tomorrow.’ ”
Remember: If your goal for the month is to lose 5 pounds, but you slip up here and there and instead you lose 3 pounds, it’s still a win. “You still achieved something. Your life is better,” Meek pointed out.
2. Your attitude is your biggest ally.
“Research on attitude all points to the value of ‘positive self-talk,’ ” Meek said. Examples of positive self-talk are “I can do this” and “This is good for me.” “Make something like that your mantra,” Meek said. “A goal-focused attitude is important for sustaining effort. You are, in effect, internalizing the support your best friend would give you.”
If taking the wellness challenge seems like too big a burden, consider this: You don’t have to achieve all your goals to become happier. “At mid-month, no one in the wellness challenge will have hit their goals yet,” Meek said, “but the people who are still trying will be happier. They are changing their lives and sustaining that change. They’ll most likely end up happier, too.” And, we hope, healthier!
Thank you to our Psoriasis Awareness Month Partners: AbbVie, Amgen, Janssen Biotech, Eli Lilly, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer.
The opinions expressed by NPF Blog contributors are their own and do not reflect the opinions or positions of the National Psoriasis Foundation. The information posted on the NPF Blog is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional medical advice.
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