New Year’s Day has come and gone and some of us have already broken those New Years resolutions. Most people break their resolutions because they set very lofty goals and either, realize that they bit off more than they could chew or became bored with their attempt. So the first article of the year will provide you with a path to help you keep your resolutions and achieve your goals for starting this or quitting that. The good news is that, even if you fall short of your goal, people who make the effort to establish a New Years Resolution are 10 times more likely to change their behavior for the positive even if they don’t complete the resolution. So, what can you do to improve your odds of following through with a resolution?
For our purposes, resolutions and goals will be synonymous. Most people set the goal but don’t create a plan to complete the goal. For example, setting a resolution or goal to lose weight without a plan to go about it will likely end in frustration and abandonment of the goal. The two easiest things to change that will result in weight loss are to improve eating habits and increase activity level. Perhaps the resolution should have been to improve your eating habits or increase your activity level. Both can assist you in losing weight, but one is easier to keep than going for the entire package right out of the gate.
The easiest way to help you keep and achieve a goal is to use a method originally created to help managers and is highly used in healthcare. It is called the SMART method. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This system can help you track your progress and improve your chance for success.
First of all be Specific. If you want to lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose and by when? For example, “I want to lose 25 pounds” could actually be, “I want to lose 5 pounds per month for the next 5-months”. This gives you a better chance of success.
Assigning a value to the goal makes it Measurable. For instance of your goal is to increase your activity using an activity tracker such as a Fitbit, Garmin, or Apple watch will allow you to count steps, stairs, etc. Ultimately this will help reinforce your progress and motivate you to stay on track.
Keep your goals Achievable. This is an area where most people go wrong. Instead of making their goals very achievable and then creating a new goal if their original goal is met they set a goal so lofty and unrealistic that it only creates frustration. If your current step count is 4000 steps per day setting a goal of 20, 000 steps per day may be unrealistic to start. Instead set a goal of 5000 steps per day. This is an achievable goal. If you reach the 5000 step mark then increase it to 6000, then 7000, etc.
Keep it Relevant. The goal has to matter to you and be something that you know is good for you. If you are making the resolution for someone else, the initial passion behind that goal will fade quickly. If you are making positive change and you know it is a good thing, then you have a better chance of success. If your goal is to be more active and you know that the increased activity will make you feel better, then it is relevant to you.
Setting a time-line to follow or keeping the goal Time-bound will keep you on track but should be realistic. Give yourself the time necessary to complete the task at hand but also enough time to achieve the goal. Set up stepping stone goals. These are smaller goals on the way to the end goal. This helps you substitute a bad habit with a good habit. Building good habits is setting you up for years of success-not just a few months of success. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds then setting stepping stone goals of 5 pounds per month for 6 months is a Time-Bound goal that satisfies the SMART rule.
Write down your goal. Structure it to fit the SMART rule. Keep track of your progress in a journal knowing that the path will have ups and downs and not all roads are straight lines. Let your family know that you have set goals and ask them for support and help. Let them know that this is important to you. Remember that, over time, small achievements add up and become large achievements. If you follow this simple formula, you will have a better chance to achieve your resolutions this year.
Get In Touch