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Four Tips for Helping Youth Set and Achieve Prevention and Wellness Goals

One of the most unique aspects of all Prevention Plus Wellness programs is our emphasis on helping youth and adults set, monitor and achieve multiple wellness behavior goals.  Specifically, we want individuals to set goals to avoid alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use, while also improving one or more health or fitness-promoting behaviors.  In doing so, young people are taking the first and most important step toward living a Prevention Plus Wellness Lifestyle. 

Below are a few tips to help youth succeed in setting and achieving prevention and wellness goals.   

Tip #1

Identify what desired images you’d like to achieve, and the health behaviors that will help you achieve those images.  

Below are some examples of wellness-enhancing behaviors and the desired images they promote:

  • Getting 8 or more hours of sleep each night, to be more rested and high energy.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast every day and eating a daily variety of nutritious foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, to be healthier and happier.
  • Participating in some fun physical activity, exercise or sport like riding a bike, running, swimming or playing soccer for at least 30 minutes on most days a week, to be more physically active and fit.
  • Practicing daily stress control like meditation, deep breathing or yoga, to be more relaxed and calm.
  • Most important, avoid alcohol, tobacco and drug use, to be successful and talented in whatever life goals you set.   

Tip #2

In addition to setting a goal to avoid alcohol, tobacco and drug use each day to live an active and fit lifestyle, set at least one goal to increase a specific wellness habit.   

This goal(s) should include:

  • A specific health or fitness behavior you want to increase.  For example, jogging, swimming, soccer; NOT get more exercise.
  • An amount of the behavior.  For example, how long each day (e.g., 10-60 minutes each time, how many servings).
  • How often the behavior will be performed.  For example, on how many days each week, and which days each week.
  • Where the behavior will be performed (Optional).  For example, in my neighborhood, home, or local gym.
  • With whom will the behavior be performed (Optional).  For example, with a friend, a family member, or alone. 

Tip#3

Sign and date your goals, and have another person co-sign your goals.   

In doing so, you’ve made a public commitment to work toward your goals.  This action will increase your motivation and seriousness to monitor and achieve your goals. 

Tip#4

Congratulate, remind and reward yourself for setting and achieving even small steps toward your goals.   

First, congratulate yourself for taking the first and most important step toward improving your health, fitness and success.  Second, post your plan where you can see it each day, for example on a wall, mirror or desk, so it is a reminder of the goals you set to achieve.  Third, be willing to keep working toward improving yourself and if necessary to revise your goals.  Focus on and celebrate the small gains you make each day, week and month.  You can do it.  Never quit!


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