A new year is upon us, which means it’s time to make those New Year’s Resolutions! Do you know what the most common resolutions are?
You guessed it: “Get Healthy”, “Lose Weight” and the like, top the list. While these are fantastic goals and I would never discourage anyone from trying to improve their health, there is a reason these resolutions persist year after year. Of the people that make New Year’s Resolutions, only about 8% succeed in actually meeting those goals. Many of us feel the effects of over indulging and on the first of the year embark on an over-restrictive diet and exercise plan to shed those unwanted extra holiday pounds fast. However, by the end of the first month over 35% of resolutions are already abandoned. By making a resolution that is too broad or unrealistic, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
So this year, let’s try setting some SMART goals instead. SMART goals are:
A goal that is too broad, such as “eat healthier”, may become overwhelming or difficult to put into action.“Eat healthier” could mean several different things, so try to focus on a specific habit or change that you would really like to make.For example: “I am going to eat more vegetables”.
This takes your specific goal a step further.So you are going to eat more vegetables, how many are you eating now and how many are you going to increase to? When are you going to eat these vegetables?For example: “I am going to prepare a vegetable with dinner at least 4 nights per week”.
This goal should be something that you are 100% sure that you can do.The idea is when you succeed in meeting that goal, you are motivated to set another and then another, and keep building off of your success rather than giving up in frustration.Back to that vegetable example, if you don’t like many vegetables and struggle to eat 1 serving per week right now, don’t set a goal to eat a vegetable every day to start.A better goal might be, for example: “I am going to try 1 new vegetable each week”.
Your goals should be relevant to you and realistic for your life, not something you set as a goal just because someone tells you that you should.If you cannot see your life without your morning coffee, then don’t make that a goal right now, focus on a different habit to start.
Thinking about a habit as something that you have to do “forever” can be overwhelming at times.Having a deadline can help to keep you motivated, so try adding an end-point to your goal.For example: “I will run 3 days a week for 10 minutes for the next 4 weeks.”At the end-point, celebrate your success and then set your next goal.
Think of your New Year’s Resolution as your “ultimate goal” for the year, but SMART goals are your action plan or roadmap for how you will actually achieve that goal.
For some help with setting your SMART goals and staying accountable as the year progresses, enlist the help of a Registered Dietitian and contact us for an appointment!