New Year’s resolutions are always filled with good intentions. Lose weight, wake up earlier, write a novel, save more money. Think back to last year. What goals did you set for yourself? Did you stick to them long enough to achieve them?
This year try a new tack. Think SMART.
SMART is an acronym for effective goal setting.
For example, “I want to lose weight” isn’t a SMART goal. It’s easy to give up on this goal after only a few days. You might find yourself swearing to give up chocolate and go to the gym six days a week, only to find yourself constantly thinking of chocolate, feeling deprived, and feeling guilty that you only exercised three times. You might lose confidence and willpower. One only has so much willpower! Finding habits that are sustainable and manageable is much better than functioning on sheer willpower.
And did you know that losing weight often doesn’t even need to happen in order to be healthy? Diets are often harmful for mental and physical health.
Re-assessing your goals will help you achieve success. First, do you even need to lose weight? If so, why? Next, have you talked to a health professional such as a doctor or dietitian about it? What other health measurements should you consider (like labs, activity level, family history of disease, etc.)? Maybe your goal could be re-shaped to be “I would like to have more body-positive thoughts.”
Make a SMART goal to help you achieve your objective.
Using the example of weight loss, let’s say you found out at your annual checkup that your cholesterol is high and you have gained 15 pounds over the past year due to reduced exercise. You think: it’s probably reasonable to start exercising again. This will help with my energy level, mood, overall health, fitness, and cholesterol. Here’s a SMART goal example to help you in your goal to “exercise more.”
S: Specific. “Increase exercise in order to improve cholesterol and cardiovascular fitness level.”
M: Measurable. “Exercise 4 days per week for 20 minutes, and continue this for at least 3 months.”
A: Attainable. “I can do this because it will fit in my schedule. I can exercise 20 minutes after work instead of looking at social media feeds.”
R: Relevant. “This matters to me and my health. I want to have more energy by exercising. I want to reduce my risk of heart attack or stroke.”
T: Time-sensitive. “I will try this new plan for 3 months, then re-assess and see what is working for me.”
Now you need a plan to make this happen. Do you have a favorite exercise in mind? Need new workout clothes? Need to coordinate with your family? Or set a reminder on your phone? Putting routines in place to achieve your goal will help it become a part of your everyday schedule.
If your goal is fitness or nutrition-related, set an appointment by clicking “Work with me” at the top of the page. Don’t do it alone! Having a dietitian by your side to coach you along will be more effective and enjoyable. You’ll get solid advice to help you achieve the results you are looking for. Be SMART!