Although it’s difficult to measure, it’s estimated that 92% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. Why? My own personal guess is that most people think in vague terms of “I want to be healthier” or “I want to lose weight.” Naturally this is difficult to achieve, because those goals can't be measured, there’s no timeline, and they have no real meaning behind them. The vast majority of us want to “be healthier” but what does that really mean?
In order to truly reach your goals this year, it’s important that you define them. Let’s take losing weight and getting toned as an example, as it’s a popular goal this time of year. Ask yourself why you want to get in shape. Is it so that you can enjoy activities like hiking, fishing, and swimming with your partner? Do you want to have enough energy to play with your 3 year old niece? Maybe you want to be self-sufficient all the way into your 90s. Whatever it is, recognize that health itself is not the goal. It’s so that you can live life and enjoy the people around you for as long as possible.
Once you’ve found your why, you can start constructing a plan on how to get there. What do you need to do today in order to feel good in your own skin in March? To be able to run that half marathon in the summer? To feel proud of yourself on December 31, 2016?
You need a SMART plan: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound. Take 15 minutes to sit down and write out the following steps with your own goals in mind. By implementing these components into your goal-setting practice, you’ll have a much better chance of seeing those changes that you so deserve!
A goal needs to be specifically defined in order to be reached. What exactly do you want to achieve?
Instead of: I want to get in shape.
Write down: I am going to work out three times a week from January 1st until January 31st.
Your goal needs to be measurable, so you can see whether or not you accomplished it!
Instead of: I want to lose weight.
Write down: My goal is to lose 10 lbs. by March 1st.
Is your goal something that is attainable for you? Only you can make this decision. Realistic goals are more likely to be achieved than overzealous ones.
Instead of: I want to lose 20 lbs. by February.
Write down: I am able to and will lose 10 lbs. by March 1st.
Does your goal tie in to your big picture? To your lifestyle? Your goal should be applicable to where you’re at in life right now.
Instead of: I want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model.
Write down: I want to feel good in my own skin by cooking at least 80% of my meals at home and drinking 2 liters of water per day.
When will you achieve these goals? I like to write out 1 month, 3 month, and 6 month goals, and then reassess.
Instead of: I’ll be in shape in 2016.
Write down: By February 1st, 2016 I will have lost 5 lbs. By April 1, 2016, I’ll be going to the gym 4 days a week. By July 1, 2016 I will weigh ______ and fit into my favourite pair of skinny jeans.
By implementing specific action steps for each of your goals, you’re already well on your way to achieving them! Reassess where you’re at every 3 months and decide what needs to be tweaked in order to stay on track. Here’s to your best health in 2016!