It’s that time of year again. And with the year this has been, this year cannot come to a close too soon. Bring on the New Year and the Resolutions! Let’s look at steps we can take to make our resolutions a success for the entire year, and not just a January kind of thing.
Firstly, it is important to focus on the PROCESS, not just the results. While weight loss is a goal that is certainly completely within your control, some others are not. For example, let’s say your resolution was to get a raise. A better resolution would be to make it a goal to call 10 customers every day. Unless you are your own boss, you have no say in whether you get a raise or not. The economy could tank, the company you work for could lose an important contract, or you could get a new boss who just doesn’t like you. You can’t do anything about that. But you can make those calls every day and by doing so make more sales, and likely increase your chances of getting that raise. Similarly, you want to pinpoint those habits that, when done consistently, will be the most likely to help you reach your ultimate goal, and then resolve to do those actions with discipline.
The SMART Formula
These habits should also follow the SMART formula of being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So instead of saying “I’m going to eat better”, follow the formula. “I am going to eat 2 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.” You can measure whether or not you’ve eaten those 2 servings or not. You can’t really measure the ambiguous “better”.
There are two methods for creating change in our lives. It’s a bit like getting into a swimming pool that has water that’s a bit chilly. One method is the jump right in method. You go all the way all at once, getting it done and over with. This method can work well for some people, but for others, it simply leads to failure when they try to take on too much change all at once. If you go from not doing any exercise to deciding to CrossFit 5 times a week, you’re going to get VERY sore and likely quit. The other method involves dipping in your feet, and once you get comfortable, get in up to your knees, and then up to your thighs and so on. As a resolution, it might look something like this: January – write down all meals in a journal. February – track foods eaten in an app that calculates calories for you. March – start measuring your meals to get a more accurate calculation of what you are taking in. April – calculate your TDEE and start slowly lowering your intake to get below that number. May – lower your intake more if necessary, or add in some exercise. And so on.
Another important component of success with resolutions, New Year’s or otherwise, is to constantly remind yourself WHY you are doing this in the first place. The stronger your reasons, the more likely you are to stick with it when things get hectic. Visualize what a successful outcome will look like for you. Is it looking good on your wedding day or in a swimsuit? Is it being able to play with your children and keep up with them? Is it being able to get pregnant and have a child without being stressed out about potential complications due to excess weight? Is it not feeling ashamed when going or eating out? Imagine yourself at your ideal form. What is different? What is your life like? That is your WHY. That needs to stay forefront in your mind each and every day. You can give yourself reminders with sticky notes on your mirror, a Pinterest motivation board, daily journaling or even meditation. But it is so important to keep your reason for reaching your goal present, to really keep yourself motivated to stick to the habits you resolved to achieve on January 1st!