Okay so I know this this topic is completely cliché, but tis the season that everyone is reflecting on the previous year and looking ahead at what’s to come. It’s human nature to constantly want to grow and improve, which is why over 40% of Americans make New Years Resolutions. Unfortunately, only 9% of people are successful with their resolutions. This year, set yourself up for success by setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time specific. Let’s break it down:
“Eating healthier” and “getting fit” are two goals that I frequently. It’s great to want to focus on your health, but “eating healthier” and “getting in shape” can mean completely different things to different people. Narrow down your goals to make them more specific to what you want to accomplish. Maybe you already eat breakfast every morning but you could improve how much water you drink per day, so you make that the focus of your SMART goal.
Once you make the steps to achieve your goal, how are you going to define success? Without a way to measure your progress, it’s hard to determine whether you have achieved what you set out to do. Let’s take the water example- how much water were you drinking before? How much water are you aiming for now? If you assign a specific number of ounces to your daily water consumption, it’s going to be very clear whether you’re meeting your target.
One of the most common mistakes I see with my nutrition clients is approaching health from an all-or-nothing perspective. They set lofty goals for themselves and end up feeling like a failure when they can’t live up to their own crazy high expectations. Instead of making a thousand different resolutions or setting your sights too high, focus on just a couple small behaviors that are realistic for you.
This step is about ensuring that your goals are applicable to your specific lifestyle and that it aligns with your broader goals. Achieving you goals will take a lot of time and effort, so you also must be sure the goal is important to you. For example, say you want to become more financially stable so you set a goal to get a part time job in addition to your full time job. Do you have the time to take on the additional hours? Will it make you feel more fulfilled professionally? Do you have other commitments that take priority? Is there a more effective way to achieve this goal? Consider these questions when setting your SMART goals.
Assigning a specific time range or a deadline to a goal creates a sense of urgency. Otherwise, mundane or day-to-day tasks tend to take priority over longer term goals. A deadline will give you a clear focus and provide you with an additional way to measure your success.
Once you set your SMART goals don’t forget to out a plan in motion to achieve them! In my opinion, this is where most people fail with their resolutions. Once a week, take a look at your goals and make a plan to tackle them step by step. This will remind you of what you want to accomplish and what steps you need to take to accomplish them.
Here are some examples:
Instead of: I want to get in shape.
SMART Goal: I will work out with a trainer for 1 hour, twice a week.
Putting the plan in motion: Reach out a personal trainer and purchase sessions.
Instead of: I want to read more.
SMART Goal: I will read 20 minutes per day.
Putting the plan in motion: Go to a bookstore and purchase 3 books.
Instead of: I want to do more meal prepping.
SMART Goal: I will spend 1 hour on Sunday preparing breakfast and snacks for the week.
Putting the plan in motion: Save 10 recipes. Go grocery shopping.
Happy New Year!