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Planning for Action
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Barton County Extension agent Donna Krug speaks to health conscious residents about creating an action plan for healthier living at the Great Bend Recreation Center Wednesday noon. Topics discussed included nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction. Attendees left with an action plan to change one aspect of their lives for the better. - photo by Veronica Coons

Developing an Action Plan

1.  Decide what you want to do.
2.  Break it down into an achievable goal.
3.  Be specific about the action you will take.
4.  Make sure you have a confidence level of 7 out of 10 before you begin.

Two weeks into the new year, and many have already forgotten their resolutions for 2013.  But many have not, and Barton County Extension FCS agent Donna Krug offered suggestions for how to take the first step towards meeting these goals Wednesday.  Over the noon hour, she presented a talk, “An action plan for healthy living,” at the Great Bend Recreation Center.  Each person in attendance left with a plan to take one simple step which could be achieved in the next week.

The steps Krug identified for developing an action plan included first and foremost deciding what a person wants to do, versus what they think they need to do.

“It’s very important that we pick something we want to do so we are more certain of success,” she said.

“Start with something achievable,” Krug said.  “From there, you can build on your successes.”

Krug addressed the three main areas people consider when taking control of their health.  Those are eating habits, exercising, and stress management.

One of the most common goals, to lose weight and adopt healthy eating habits, is better achieved with small lifestyle changes, she said.  For example, by eating breakfast every morning, Krug said the average person would eat 100 fewer calories in a day than someone who skipped breakfast.  That adds up to about ten pounds lost in a year by just making one simple adjustment, she said.  If a person made a mindful decision to stop eating after they are not hungry, it is estimated they would take in around 500 fewer calories a day, which could add up to 50 pounds in one year.

“On a scale from one to ten, it’s important your confidence level is at least 7 for best results,” Krug said.  “If it is not, it’s time to adjust your goal down until you have a higher level of confidence you can reach it.”

Krug recommended the same process for increasing exercise or adopting other habits that reduce stress.

When starting an exercise program, she recommended starting slow, finding an exercise buddy, and doing it regularly.

For those who want to lower the stress in their lives, Krug suggested following the five “S”s:  Simplify, safety first, stop smoking or using alcohol, sleep well, and surround yourself with positive people.  

“Most importantly, create a written action plan, and record your progress,” she said.  “At the end of the week, if you can look back and see you’ve made your goal successfully, it will motivate you, and that’s the key to success.”