It's Not Too Late: New Year, New You!
Well, it is new year and it is time to make those resolutions yet again. 45% of the United States will set a new year’s resolution on January 1st. “Losing weight” and “getting healthy/fit” are among the top ranking goals each year. Guess what percentage of that 45% of all people actually prove to be successful at reaching their goals? EIGHT….8% have truly achieved their new year’s goal by the time they get to the end of the year. But why?
Many people do not take the time to set SMART goals. They simply think about what their goal should be and begin looking for a quick fix rather than creating a plan to get to their desired results. With constant exposure to nutrition and diet (mis)information on social media, advertisements, and gimmicks it is no wonder Americans find themselves making the same resolution year after year. It can be incredibly difficult to sort through everything being thrown at you and it can truly be overwhelming!
A good place to start is learning how to set a goal--not any goal, a SMART goal.
T- Time Bound
SPECIFIC: The first guideline in a SMART goal requires that your goal be specific. Establishing a clear, concise goal sets the groundwork for defining a precise objective. What is it you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish that specific goal? Many will set a goal that simply says “I want to lose weight” or “I want to become more healthy”. That is not a clear, concise goal. The more specific you are about your goal, the more likely you are to achieve that goal. A better goal would be “I want to lose 20 pounds” or “ I want to lower my fasting blood sugar by 15 points”.
MEASURABLE: Second guideline states your goal must be measurable. How are you going to track your progress? Making your goals measurable means adding a number. By having a way to monitor your progress you are more likely to stay on track rather than getting derailed! For some people weighing in every week is a sufficient form of measuring. For others, they need much more specific measures such as tracking their daily food intake in a food journal. What kind of accountability do you need to stay on track?
ATTAINABLE: Third guideline states the goal must be attainable. This relates to what you are capable of accomplishing, as well as what you are willing to do to reach your goals. Whether or not a goal is attainable has everything to do with your current resources as well as your mindset. Do you have the resources and the correct mindset to attain the goal you are setting out to accomplish.
REALISTIC: This may be the most important guideline. Your goal must be realistic! What this means is we do not want to set such a lofty goal that we are not able to reach it! Your goal should be challenging but not so challenging as to set yourself up for failure. If you know your schedule is absolutely crazy with your career, husband, three kids, their activities and two dogs it is probably not reasonable to say you are going to start going to the gym 6 days a week when you have not been to the gym in 3 years. It is a smarter goal to aim for going to the gym 3-4 days a week and one day each week you will workout at your home. We want to be realistic about our own situation while setting these goals. A single individual without many obligations outside a 9-5 job may be able to jump into 6 days a week at their local gym but others are lucky to get 3 days simply because of their schedule. This does not mean you should not challenge yourself, this simply means we should be realistic when setting our new years goals.
TIME BOUND: The final guideline for SMART goals is they should be time bound. There should be an expiration date on your goal. If you are setting a new year’s resolution, many times your expiration is December 31st of the same year. If we do not give ourselves a time frame it simply becomes an endless goal we are always saying we are going to accomplish. Since it does not have a timeline, there is no sense of urgency to get it done. Instead of saying “I want to lose 20 pounds”, put a timeline on it “I want to lose 20 pounds by the end of 2019”. This seems like a simple concept but it truly makes all the difference.
Now then, how are you going to make sure you are going to accomplish this goal? How are you going to stay on track?!!
WRITE IT DOWN: When you write down your SMART goal, you are automatically more likely to accomplish it.
KEEP IT HANDY: Keep your goal nearby so you can see it, read it, touch it, and feel it.
KNOW YOUR "WHY": Why is it so important to accomplish this goal? Is it because getting healthier is going to make you feel better. Is it going to set an example for your kids? Is it because you want to stay off all the medications the doctor is threatening to put you on if you do not do it? Or maybe it is because you just want to be able to keep up with your 3 year old? You have to know why it is so important to reach your goal--this is what will keep you driving forward when it gets tough.
START SMALL: Set smaller goals to use as stepping stones to get to your larger, year end goal. These will ensure you are staying on track. When you get to the end of June, are you halfway to your goal? If not, it does not mean you have failed, it simply means you need to take a different approach or commit fully to the original approach!
HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE: Take it as seriously as you would if it were a promise to your best friend. Many of us have the tendency to break a promise to ourselves that we would never break if it were a promise made to our best friend.
Setting SMART goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life. If you need help in identifying these goals, feel free to set an appointment.