It’s that time of year again where we start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Can you guess what two of the most common two resolutions are? You guessed it:
- Eating better
- Getting more exercise
During the month of January, gyms are full and weight loss centers are packed. However, by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, gyms have cleared and many people have given up on their goals. More often than not we have great intentions when making resolutions, but sadly end up breaking them within the first few months of the new year.
Why does this happen?
Most of the time this happens due to vowing to make too many changes in too short of a period of time. So, how can you prevent from becoming another New Year’s Resolution casualty? Check out some practical guidelines below!
A reliable way to make sure you reach your goals is by setting SMART goals.
This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Often times we become too ambitious and create a long list of resolutions without a real, measurable plan to achieve them. A resolution without a plan turns out being nothing more than a wish.
Let’s break this down a little more in depth.
S = Specific
Clearly state what you want to achieve. Your goal should be specific and easily understood. Setting a goal to “Get healthy” is too general. There are many ways to get healthy (exercising, cutting out sugar, stop smoking, better nutrition, etc.). Pick one that you’ll be able to focus on and define.
M = Measurable
You must be able to measure your goal, otherwise you will not know when it is reached. Making a goal measurable means it should be easy to convert into a number or have some quantifiable component. For example:
” am going to lose 2 pounds every week by choosing healthy meal options over processed foods.”
A = Achievable
A goal needs to be challenging enough to keep your interest, but not so far out of reach that you give up. For example, setting a goal of walking 20 miles a week might be difficult to sustain for the whole year. Setting a goal of walking for 20 minutes a day would be more attainable.
R = Realistic
Choose a goal that is important to you. Don’t select something that you are not concerned about. Make sure the goal is something that will fit into your existing lifestyle and schedule without too much rearranging or sacrifice.
T = Timely
Establish the endpoint to the goal. Knowing that you have a deadline helps with motivation and determination. Here is an example:
I will drink water in the place of soda every day this week.
Include Other People
Involve others in your goal-setting or simply share your resolutions with family and friends. This can help considerably with motivation and accountability. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or joining a group of coworkers taking a healthy cooking class. Making your goals and resolutions known could even motivate others to set some goals of their own.
Be Kind to Yourself
Don’t strive for perfection, as this is unattainable. The ‘all or nothing’ frame of mind often sets us up for failure. It is okay and even normal to mess up and get off track, but don’t let this be an excuse to stop your efforts. Avoid negative thinking. Don’t give up completely because you ate a frosted brownie, or skipped the gym for a few days due to being busy. Everyone has good days and bad. Vow to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.
Keep in mind:
Three steps forward and one step back is still two steps forward!