resolutions: (n) firm decisions to do or not do something
According to a 2017 survey, the most popular New Year’s resolutions were focused on self-care. No surprise there, right? This means “eating healthier,” “losing weight,” and other self-care notions like “getting more sleep” will be goals on the forefront of minds this year, too.
But when you decide to “lose weight” how will you know when you accomplish this goal? By definition, you could lose one pound and be done. But that’s well within the normal daily weight-fluctuations for women and therefore probably not what you intend.
Did you know 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the first week of February? There are a few reasons as to why. But instead of talking about why they fail, I want to tell you how YOU can succeed.
Making these annual goals can play an important role in spring-boarding the changes you desire to see in your life. But if you want to be in the astounding 8% that actually follow-through all 365 days, you need to be SMART.
Your goal should be clear and easy to understand with specific parameters, which we will outline below. So a goal to “lose weight” is not specific enough.
How will you know when you achieved your goal? Put a number to it. Also think through how you will track your progress, and make sure it’s a result you can control. For example, weight loss depends on so many factors and can fluctuate, but making a goal to exercise X amount of days a week for X amount of minutes is something you can either do or not do.
Is this goal realistic for your life-phase and physical capabilities? It’s good to dream big, but dreaming too-big can be overwhelming. And setting a goal that’s too easy can be underwhelming and just as un-motivating.
Breaking down your New Year’s resolution into mini-goals makes it much easier to attain. When you think about a goal to lose weight, you will also need smaller and specific goals of how and when to exercise, when and what to eat, etc … What smaller goals will help you achieve your larger resolution?
Is this goal important to you and where you are in life? Or is someone else pressuring you to achieve it? Make sure this is applicable to you and is something you care about.
Having a deadline motivates you to get started and keep your progress on track. If you’re making a resolution to last through December, it’s also important to think through mini-goals each month or week to keep momentum. This will not only help keep you on track to finish strong by the end of the year, but will also give you a greater sense of accomplishment and help motivate you to follow through into next year.
Whereas “SMART goals” are fairly common, this last addition is mine. Thinking about achieving your goal needs to make you shout “YIPPEE!” Because if you’re excited, you are far more likely to follow-through. And sometimes this means creating prizes or celebrations for completing your mini-goals throughout the year. If you do this, make sure the celebration won’t derail your goals (ie. if your resolution is to lose X pounds, having chocolate to celebrate is probably not the best idea).
How to Make SMART-Y Goals
Since weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, let’s use that as our example.
Allison just had a baby and wants to lose her postpartum weight.
- Allison wants to lose 40 pounds by Dec 31st
- Allison will weigh herself in the morning on the first of every month to track her progress.
- To hold herself accountable to exercise, Allison will run a 5k on May 1st and rigorously follow the couch to 5k training program
- Allison will find another 5k in August and a 10k in December to continue the training program
- Allison will drink 80 oz of water each day and use the app on her phone to track daily progress
- Each week in January that Allison completes every run and water goal, she will pamper herself by getting nails done, hair done, etc.
- Each month that she completes all her exercise and water goals and loses more than 5 pounds, she will treat herself to a massage
- At the end of the year when Allison loses 40 pounds, she will go on a vacation to the beach.
See how we set Allison up for success? It’s all about taking big resolutions and sectioning them into smaller goals that are easier to complete.
What New Year’s resolutions do you have for 2019? What do you need to do to make them SMART-Y?
Want to read about my SMARTY goal? You can read about it here.