Take a moment to read through the list of goal-setting tips below, and think about how you can apply these to making healthy changes in your life—changes that may help decrease your risk of cancer. Encourage the people close to you to do the same, and you may end up helping save a life.

  • Be Realistic. Set standards or aim for something that’s within reach. You can say you will finish a marathon, but if you have trouble getting yourself to the gym, focus on sticking with a 30-minute workout, three times a week at first.
  • Give Yourself a Timeline. If you don’t have a timeline, you won’t know if you’re on track. Give yourself short-term goals leading up to a bigger long term goal. Maybe start by walking twice a week, then gradually increase until you are running every day by the end of the year.
  • Use your resources. Don’t feel like you have to do this all on your own. There are many ways you can use the resources around you. Some are free, like AFCR’s online Healthy Recipes, and others you may need to pay for, like hiring a personal trainer. And if you or a loved one needs help quitting smoking, there are hundreds of resources available.
  •  Be Specific. Saying that you want to eat healthier won’t cut it in the long run, because you aren’t defining what “healthier” means to you. Instead, define your goal as eating at least 5 servings of vegetables or fruit a day, or choosing steamed veggies over fries as your side dish, or cutting out late-night snacks.
  • Write Down Your Goals. When you write something down, you are more likely to do it.
  • Tell Your Friends. Make sure the people around you know what your goal is. You are more likely to stick to it if you know that other people are watching, and they can help you stay on track.
  • Progress Reports. We got them in school and we get them at work, so why not give yourself one per month to better track your progress? This will keep you on target, renew your resolve, and point out any areas for you to improve.

Once you decide on your goal, put your plan to work for you. Following through will be tough, but having a detailed plan to reach your goal will make it easier to accomplish along the way.
So remember these steps as you draft out your goals, and have fun with it!