Happy New Year! It’s prime time for resolutions, which fills me with excitement and dread all at once. Of course, as a wellness and fitness professional, there’s nothing I love more than seeing the influx of energized faces in our Fitnessolver facility every January. Many of my fellow Solvers are just like most Americans – who according to Nielsen data most commonly resolve to stay fit and healthy (37%) and/or lose weight (32%) in the new year.
However, stats also show 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Where does all of that energy and resolve go so quickly? Nowhere – but like the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The key to being successful, with New Year’s resolutions or any other goal, is being SMART. Specifically, setting goals that are:
Specific. Most of us have no problem at all with this one. We know exactly how many pounds we want to lose, how many miles we want to run, how many ounces of water we want to drink. Research shows though, that you’re more likely to stick to goals though if you write them down – even more so if you say them out loud to someone else.
Measurable. This step is usually easy and accessible as well, thanks to the thousands of fitness apps and wearable devices that are available to help us track every sip and step, and measure our progress over time. Use these to your advantage to help you stay accountable – whether through daily reminders to keep up the momentum, connecting to community support, or both.
Achievable. This is where most people “fail to plan” and start to have trouble. There’s nothing at all wrong or misguided about wanting to lose 5 pounds – or 50. However, if you don’t have a fitness or nutrition plan, and still have a fridge stocked with sweets and soda well … you can see what I’m getting at. Having a path to get you to your goal is just as important as the goal itself. For example, drinking eight glasses of water per day is achievable if you plan to drink one glass per hour while you’re at work, keep a glass or water bottle within arm’s reach at your desk, and set reminders throughout the day to keep you on track.
Realistic. Unfortunately, setting unrealistic goals is what leads most people to give up. We’ve all seen people promise to run 10 miles every day – even with a packed work schedule, a busy social life, and other personal commitments that will inevitably conspire against their success, no matter how committed and driven they are. Then, when life interferes one too many times, it’s easy to feel like a failure and throw in the towel altogether. Too often, people confuse making realistic resolutions with lacking ambition. It’s actually the total opposite! Being honest and self-aware about the bounds your work and life might place on your goals (and resetting accordingly) is one of the most purposeful things you can do – and is a key to keeping you going to see your resolution through past Valentine’s Day.
Timely. Resolving to lose 20 pounds in 20 days, or run a 15-minute 5k by the end of the week is a recipe for destruction – for your mind, if not your body too. Give yourself enough time to turn your New Year’s resolutions into SMART goals and see them through to the finish; you have the whole year, after all!