Make sure your resolutions are SMART.
The more specific, organized, and realistic your New Year’s resolutions, the better. When choosing and pursuing your resolutions, set SMART goals:
Ambition can be wonderful, but biting off more than you can chew will only set you up for failure from the get-go. If your goal is to get fit, don’t just say “I’m going to get in better shape.” Set specific goals and milestones to help you keep your resolutions.
Ex. “I’m going to lower my body fat percentage, increase my intake of fruits and vegetables, and drink more water.”
How are you going to track your success? You need to be able to compare where you started with where you are and accurately set goals for where you want to go. To do this, your goals need to be measurable.
Ex. “I’m going to lose four inches around my waistline, increase my maximum push-up count to 30 repetitions, and drink at least 80 oz of water each day.”
Achievable (or Attainable)
Do some research before you start chasing your goals to lower your risk of burnout. Losing 50 lbs in three months isn’t a healthy or realistic goal, but aiming to 10 lbs over 5-10 weeks is a safe, approachable goal that is less likely to overwhelm and discourage you if you’ve resolved to lose weight this upcoming year. Or maybe your New Year’s resolution is to break a bad habit, rather than quitting cold turkey, make a plan to gradually cut back on certain foods, lower your sugar intake, or eliminate an unhealthy habit.
Ex. Rather than saying, “I’m going to eliminate all junk foods from my diet immediately,” try “I’m going to eat healthier by adding more vegetables to my meals every day.”
Make sure your goals are fitting and relevant to you. Sure, your friends and family might be making inspiring, life-changing resolutions, and it’s okay to help motivate one another, but you need to spend time considering what resolutions make sense for you, your goals, and your lifestyle. You can still hold one another accountable for sticking to your New Year’s resolutions, but that doesn’t mean you all have to set the same goals.
Relevancy is also about motivation. What are your reasons behind your resolutions? If you start running just because your friend is training for a marathon but you don’t actually enjoy running, you’ll burn out pretty quickly. Understanding your end game can help you stay on track and choose a resolution that sticks.
Ex. “I want to start working out, eating healthier, and making healthier decisions in order to have more clarity, energy, and confidence in other areas of my life.”
Don’t wait until the last minute to make a plan that’ll help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. Set specific, short-term goals to increase your odds of achieving your goals in the long run. If your goal is to lose weight, losing 5 lbs per month with routine check-ins is a more approachable goal than losing 60 lbs in a year. Whether your resolution is to lose weight, run a marathon, or learning to cook healthier foods, you can more effectively stick with your New Year’s resolution by setting incremental, timely goals with specific, realistic milestones.
Ex. “I want to lose 60 lbs this year, therefore I need to lose at least 5 lbs per month. I’ll start January 1st and weigh myself the 1st of each month. In order to cook healthier, I’ll try one new recipe each week. I’ll aim to add a quarter of a mile to my run every two weeks until I can run a 5K without stopping.”
Did you know less than 10% of people who set New Year’s resolutions actually achieve their resolutions? Setting SMART-er goals can help you stick with your New Year’s resolutions and beat the odds. Sharing your goals with trusted loved ones, tracking your progress, and reminding yourself of your endgame and the motivations behind your resolutions will make it easier to stay focused and driven.