Tips for Keeping Your Resolution
After a full month of holiday celebrations, (and high-calorie dinners), January often marks the beginning of many trends of better health, including healthier diets, smoking cessation, and fitness. However, February often marks the end of many of these attempts to better one’s self. So what goes wrong?
It might be the goals you are setting! Dr. Lock’s and Latham have created an acronym for goal setting that may help. When writing goals, think S.M.A.R.T. which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Here’s how they may apply.
“I will be healthier in the New Year.” This goal is as general as it could be! To be specific, you want to nail down the what, where, and how of the situation. A better goal may be, “I will take a 15 minute walk on my lunch break at work every day.” Specificity will help you know how to be healthier in the new year and will take the guess work out of your resolution.
“I will run more in the New Year.” How much more? Goals need to be measurable so you know if you have achieved them. A better goal may be “I will run 10 miles a week.” Measurable goals help keep you accountable for your own improvement and may provide a source of encouragement.
“I will lose 10 pounds a week.” Not only is this completely unhealthy, but it is most likely unattainable. A healthy weight loss plan aims at losing 1-3 pounds a week. If you are significantly overweight, such a weight loss plan may be attainable, but will need to be supervised by health care professionals. Do not set goals that are going to set you up for failure.
“I will weigh 75 pounds by the end of the year.” Of course, this is not a healthy goal. It is also not reasonable. Do not set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals. No one can tell you what is unrealistic for you beside yourself. Make sure your goals are such that you know you can achieve them with moderate effort. “I will weigh 150 pounds (or whatever is an appropriate amount for your height, gender, and age) by the end of the year,” may be a better goal for you.
“Someday, I will get in shape.” Setting goals that are timely is important. When would like to have met your goal? Next New Year’s Eve? In three months? In four years? Set a time limit so you know when to expect this result. This will encourage you to keep heading toward your goal and to keep you going when your hit inevitable rough patches.
Remember, re-evaluate periodically and see how well you are progressing toward these goals. Do they need to be reworded? Do you need more time? Is there something blocking you from meeting these goals that you can address? Check in with yourself often.
Precautions: Do not attempt a significant weight loss or diet change without consulting a health care professional.
Source: Affirmations for Radical Success with contributions from AltMeds.com editorial staff.