New Year’s resolutions have a bit of a stigma. They are pretty much known to be a generic test of will power you set for yourself and end up forgetting about after 1 month. For example “lose weight”. There is a reason the gyms are SO BUSY the first few weeks of the year. Then after a month, they are dead again. So today, we are going to talk about how to actually keep your New Year’s Resolutions this year.
How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions This Year
It’s actually not as difficult as it seems. You just need to be SMART. The best way to set goals for yourself is to make a SMART goal. Your goals should be:
- Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish? What exactly are you going to do to make it happen?
- Measurable: Can you measure what you want to accomplish? How much? How often?
- Attainable: Is this goal you set even possible for you to complete? Would it require you to push yourself beyond a reasonable amount of effort to achieve?
- Relevant: Does it align with other goals you have set for yourself. Will it help you in your everyday life? Will it help your future?
- Time-Bound: What is the time frame that you will complete this goal in?
Let’s try an example
I get this one all the time. Let’s say our New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. People have many different reasons to want to lose weight: aesthetics, health, confidence, to fit in old clothes, etc. I would recommend starting with understanding your why. So now, let’s break down this goal and make it SMART.
How much weight do you want to lose? What kind of weight do you need to lose? Do you just want to focus on fat loss, or are you looking to reduce weight overall? What do you plan on doing to make this happen? You could go on a crash diet and lose some weight (likely to gain it all back). Is that what you wanted to accomplish? Or would you rather have more gradual weight loss that is easier to maintain? With all of this in mind, a more specific goal could be I want to lose at least 2 pounds of fat every month by exercising at least 5 times a week and cutting out all sugary drinks.
So how can we measure your goal? Is it only weight on the scale? Should we also keep up with other measurements such as circumference of certain body parts, or clothing sizes. Do you have access to a scale that can measure body fat percentage? Losing weight doesn’t always mean losing fat. Weight loss can be from fluid, glycogen, and even muscle if you are too restrictive. Because weight fluctuates so much, especially for women, a better measurement would be waist circumference or jean size & body fat percentage. So now your goal could adjust to say I want to reduce my body fat percentage by at least 1% every month or 1 jean size every 6 months by exercising for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week and cutting out all sugary drinks.
But is this goal even a possibility for you? Do you honestly have the ability to devote 3o minutes to exercise 5 times a week? Or do you honestly think it is attainable for you to cut out ALL sugary beverages forever? If you aren’t doing that already,then most likely not. Remember any progress is beneficial to your health. You don’t have to make huge, drastic changes to make a difference in your health. So, because you know yourself, maybe your goal has morphed to say this: I want to reduce my body fat percentage by at least 1% every month or drop 1 jean size every 6 months by exercising for 15 minutes at least 3 days a week, having 1 non- starchy vegetable serving each day, and limiting my sugary drink intake to 2 times a week.
Is this goal relevant to your life? Are you already at a healthy BMI? Do you have a health condition or are on medication that causes you to gain weight? Have you been leading a balanced, healthy lifestyle and been about the same weight your entire adult life? Maybe you don’t need to lose fat at all and a better goal for you would be to focus on improving your health. Now your goal might look like this: I want to improve my health by prioritizing exercise for 15 minutes at least 3 days a week, having 1 non-starchy vegetable serving each day, and limiting my intake of sugary drinks to 2 servings a week.
When does this all need to be accomplished? There is no “finish line” to improving your health and making sustainable changes to your lifestyle. But, you can always check in with yourself every now and again to make sure you are moving in the right direction. So perhaps now your goal will be: By 6 months from now, I want to have a habit of prioritizing exercise for 15 minutes at least 3 days a week, having 1 serving daily of a non-starchy vegetable, and limiting my intake of sugary drinks to 2 weekly.
That is a SMART goal.
Do you see how nothing in my goal seems out of reach. Everything is possible to accomplish without too much effort. Also, there is no pressure to adopt any unhealthy practices just so you can “lose weight”. This approach will enable you to gradually incorporate healthy habits into your life that will improve your overall health. These habits may even impact your weight too, but you are well on your way to living your healthiest, balanced life. Then, once your time frame is up, check in with yourself and set new goals if you accomplished what you wanted. Or develop a different approach that will work better based on what you learn about yourself for the first go-round.
What are your SMART New Year’s Resolutions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for help developing SMART goals for your New Year’s Resolutions!
I hope you were able to get something out of this post on how to actually keep your New Year’s resolutions this year. Keep your eyes peeled for a post in the near future on why diets don’t work at bombdietitian.com. Check out my healthy recipes here to help you reach your health goals!