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Start new year with an Action Plan
Donna Krug

I’m still getting used to writing 2019 on my correspondence; after all it’s just been three weeks since we welcomed in the new year. Hopefully you have some goals or expectations written down so that the year ahead can be fulfilling and satisfying. Still, there may be times that challenges get in the way of meeting these goals.  

An “Action Plan” can help get the New Year off to a great start. A few years ago I wrote a fact sheet titled, “Action Plan for Healthy Living.” The fact sheet focuses on 15 lifestyle choices that can bring about a healthier life. Helping individuals create an action plan that they can become engaged in was my goal in sharing this information. 

So what exactly is an “Action Plan”? The first step in developing an action plan is to find something you “want” to do. Think about lifestyle changes that could impact your health in a positive way. Choose something that is reasonable; something you could expect to accomplish in a week or two. A true action plan is behavior specific. Losing weight is not a behavior, but drinking three sugary drinks every day is. So your action plan might read like this. “I will drink a glass of water instead of a sugary drink twice each day in the week ahead.” As you can see the action plan answered these questions: What? How much? When? How often?

The final piece of a successful action plan is to assess the confidence level that you will fulfill the contract. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 represents little confidence and 10 represents total confidence, your plan should rank at least a 7. 

Many serious health problems are directly related to personal habits or behavior. The risk factors that can lead to these problems are of little concern to many people. They may have the attitude, “I feel fine – why worry about a healthier lifestyle? The medical system was built around caring for the sick instead of keeping people well. Achieving a healthy lifestyle takes knowledge, effort, and determination. No one can do it for you. Now is the time to build healthy habits into your daily life. Soon they will come naturally. 

Feel free to stop by for your copy of the “Action Plan for Healthy Living” fact sheet or look for it on-line on the KSRE web site. The publication number is: MF 3053. Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or