Resolutions for a New Year

New Years ResolutionsNew Years Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions rarely come to fruition.  

S. M. A. R. T. Goals

Chalk drawing – S. M. A. R. T. Goals

We rarely put a lot of time and effort into planning our New year’s resolutions.  We make many unrealistic and idealistic plan to change our lives after a night full of alcohol induced delusions of grandeur and a week weight gain created by poor living during the holidays.  Now, on the first day fo the year in the early hours, we want to correct everything with a poorly conceived plan that was induced by alcohol, regrets, and guilt.   New Year’s resolutions fit in very well without instant gratification lifestyles, and we fall ith a poorly conceive into this trap every year.  

Are you keen to reinvent yourself with a resolution in New Year? You could use the transition of the new year as a long overdue excuse to get rid of bad habits.  I have no problem with resolutions as long as you make realistic.  With New Year’s Eve approaching, many of us will all resolve to make next year the year we finally lose weight and become healthier and fitter. But over 90% of us will fail because our goals are either not specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, or time-related. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely and is your ticket to succeeding with your health and fitness resolutions.

Smart Goals

Smart Goals

S.M.A.R.T Goals are:  

Specific.  Rather than just saying, “I’m going to exercise more,” you’ve specified how many calories you’ll burn or how long you are going to exercise per week.  Examples: “I am going to exercise to burn 500 calories per day fro five days a week” or “I am going to going to exercise 30 days per day for five days a week”.  

Measurable.  A measurable goal is an easy requirement.  If you do not have a measurable goal you can’t track your progress, it’s hard to hold yourself accountable.  Your fitness device or cell phone will track the calories you burn, so you’ll be able to clearly know when you succeed.  Examples: “500 calories burned”, “2.5 miles walked”, or “1 pound of weight loss” are all measurable goals.  Great, but you can’t measure “fitness” or “health” directly. How will you know that your efforts are succeeding as well as they could be? Specific goals are measurable by definition. You know you are getting closer to you goal as you inch closer to your goal.  The measurements will provide you with the kind of feedback you need to make adjustments as you proceed with your program. 

Achievable or Attainable.  Your goals to be realistic.  If your goal is out of reach or impossible, you will never reach it, and you will become discouraged and quit prematurely.   Examples of realistic targets are to “lose 1-2 pounds a week”, “exercise 150 minutes a week”, or “sleep 7-8 hours a night”.  You must have the time, capability, and knowledge to complete the task.  

Relevant.  Beyond realistic, your goal must be relevant to values and priorities.  If your overall goal is to spend more time with your family, a resolution to run a marathon might not fit in well with this overall priority, but exercise is entirely relevant to weight loss.  In other words, exercising more fits into your larger weight loss plan.  Examples of relevant goals include “exercising for 30 minutes for five days a week to improve my fitness” or “cut 500 calories per day from my diet to lose one pound per week for four weeks”.  

Time-Bound.  Having a timeframe attached to each of your goals is important.  A timeline sets it as your goal for this week or month.  For example, “I will lose 1-2 pounds a week for 6-10 weeks until I reach 10 pounds lost” or “I will exercise 30 minutes a day for five days a week over the next two months”.  Both of these goals have short and long term goals that are time-bound so gauge your success.  

Other New Year’s resolution tips to improve success:

  1. New Years Resolutions

    New Years Resolutions

    Pick one small resolution.  Large goals are harder to achieve and result in lower confidence and can lead to you quitting too soon.  If the targets are too numerous or large, it will be more than you can handle.  I have found that if you start with a lot of little short term goals in route to a large goal, you will be more likely to continue to fight forward instead of quitting.  Consider each step a small baby step toward your final goal.  

  2. Pick concrete goals only.  Vague goals such as “get health” are inexact are harder to track. Exact goals will be easier to measure success.   
  3. New Year's Resolutions INFOGRAPHIC

    New Year’s Resolutions Infographic

    Challenge yourself.  Pick goals that push you to work harder If the goal is too easy, you will lose interest and quit.  Choose a goal that is difficult not no so difficult that you lose confidence that you will have success.  

  4.  Make a plan early.  Study your goals and become an expert on the who, what, when, why, and where of your goal.  The more you know, the more likely you will become successful.  As you move toward implementation, it would be good to be ready to have all the tools you need to avoid excuses to delay or road bumps to derail success.   
  5. Get support.  Breaking an old habit or creating a new lifestyle requires support from your family.  Losing weight and exercising takes more than willpower.  You will need your friends and relatives to complete this task.  
  6. Write down.  Write down your plan and keep track of your successes.  Self-realization is vital for success.  Re-read your writings daily to look for areas of improvement and to visualize your route to success.    
  7. Publish you plan.  This one is up to you.  I like to post mine to the internet to hold myself accountable.  
  8. Anticipate road bumps or problems.  There will be problems so make a list of what road bumps you have experienced in the past.  Now, you’ll be able to anticipate problems before they occur. Since you have identified the potential problems, you can now plan a coping mechanisms to deal with each road bump, so they do not derail your plans.  
  9. Forgive yourself.  It is easy to slip up.  If you are hard on yourself and dwell on you less than successful moments, you will be full of regret and more likely to fail.  A small stumble or road bump is not the end of the world.  
  10. The last step is to pick a start date.  I recommend against New Year’s Day as a start.  You are tired and this is not a great day to give it your total concentration.  You need energy and enthusiasm to be successful and tired and hungover is a poor substitute.  

Ten Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Will Help With Weight Loss:

  1. Exercise 30 minutes per day five times a week.
  2. Reduce your sugar sweetened treats three per week.
  3. Switch to whole grain foods.
  4. Have protein as a part of each meal with 20-30 grams per meal.
  5. Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
  6. Increase sleep to 7-8 hours per night.  
  7. Walk 10,000 steps per day for 4-5 days per week.
  8. New year's Champagne

    New year’s Champagne

    Meditate at the start or end of every day to reduce stress.

  9. Reduce drinking of carbonated beverages to once a day.
  10. Reduce alcohol consumption to once a week and 1-2 drinks per setting.  

The above goals are an example of some healthy changes to make.  You can convert them to S.M.A.R.T. goals to meet your needs for a resolution.  I hope you find this article helpful.  Good luck with your resolution.  

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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