“Resolutions become real if you’re willing to involve yourself and accept responsibility for your choices as well as the consequences that go with them.” — Dr. John Valusek
A personal resolution is a promise to yourself to think, feel or act differently in a way that’s important to you. Research shows more than 80% of resolutions don’t produce results. Why? Many resolutions are made impulsively — without careful and deliberate thought — and usually at what seems to be the sudden appearance of a new year.
Whether you’ve already achieved your goal from last year and your resolution is to maintain that change this year, or it’s time to re-evaluate your goals and make your plan to reach it, Kim Meeuwsen, registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Mary Free Bed Weight Management Program, is here to provide tips to making a successful and healthy resolution:
- Provide clear definition. Use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. Your goals should be:
- Specific: State precisely what you want to accomplish.
- Measurable: There should be no question as to whether you achieved the goal.
- Attainable: Is your goal reachable or realistic? Be honest with yourself. Setting an attainable goal will motivate for further success rather than cause disappointment.
- Relevant: Consider your interests, needs and abilities. For example, if you don’t like to dance, a goal to attend 3 Zumba classes a week probably doesn’t make sense for you.
- Time-bound: Without a time commitment, our inner procrastinator takes over. Setting a deadline holds you accountable.
- Start small. It’s OK to have a lofty goal if it’s also attainable and you’ve allowed yourself a realistic time frame to achieve it. However, we’re more likely to reach our big goals when we have small goals along the way to keep us motivated. First, write down your larger goal. What steps need to occur to reach it? Make a list of small weekly or monthly goals that will keep you moving in the right direction.
- Make it visible. Post your goal on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator or on your work computer. Remind yourself daily what you’ve set out to accomplish.
- Make time to evaluate your progress along the way. If you achieved your goal – great! How can it be enhanced or continued? If not, what needs to be modified? After a few days of forgetting your gym bag, maybe you need to set a small goal to put your bag in the car at night in order to form that habit.
- Enlist help or support. We need support from the people around us in order to sustain a new habit. Let a coworker know you might be skipping the appetizers and calorie-dense beverages at happy hour. Or tell your spouse that dinner will be a bit later so you can hit the gym after work. A positive support system can make all the difference. And who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire them to join in the healthy fun!
The key to a successful resolution is the action behind that resolution. Do you have a plan?