Should You Make New Year Resolutions?

fireworks-574739_1280I love a New Year. It feels like a fresh start. It’s the time of year when we take stock of our life and make new goals to be better in the New Year. Now that we’ve all gorged on cake, pies, and cookies through the holidays, resolutions tend to be about being healthier.   I think resolutions can be a great idea, if you plan them.

Here’s how to make resolutions that stick:

First, you should pick no more than one or two goals that really matter to you.   This way you can focus your attention on a few items, rather than making a long list that you can’t even begin to remember, let alone follow through with.

Second, make S.M.A.R.T. goals:

  • Specific: What, where, why and how will you reach your resolution?
  • Measurable: It’s one thing to say “I’m going to lose weight” but how do you know if you’ve succeeded?   “I’m going to lose 5 pounds in the next 4 weeks” is better, but even then you don’t really have total control over your weight. You DO have control over your actions. So an even better goal would be one pertaining to your behavior, like “I will keep a daily food journal” or “I will eliminate sodas from my diet.” Put a number on your goal, for example you can say “I will walk for 20 minutes 5 days a week.” This is preferable to “I’m going to start exercising.”
  • Attainable: Impossible goals are de-motivating.   Set a goal that stretches you a bit, but is reasonable for you to do within your capabilities.   Losing 10 lbs in 10 days is not realistic (despite what the magazine at the check stand says!)
  • Relevant: Think about your overall life goals and how this fits into it. Maybe you want to set an example for your children or you want to avoid the chronic diseases that run in your family. But put it into context, and consider that goals that relate to the things that are important to us can really be so much more motivating than external motivations, such as what others think.
  • Time-bound: Set a goal with a completion (or check-in) date and include frequency of actions if appropriate.

February 18 is the day when most people give up on their goals, but you don’t have to join that statistic. Good luck and happy resolution-making!

Happy New Year!

 

photo courtesy Pixabay