Okay, I know what you’re thinking…so hear me out…
It’s a new year, you wanna make a new you! You write down your New Year’s resolutions in an old notebook you have lying around your house and suddenly, you’re super motivated for the upcoming year.
“I’m gonna work out every day. I’m going to eat healthy. I’m going to stop eating sugar. I’m going to save money. I’m going to socialize more…”
I get it. I’ve been there. And I’ve been there mid February when all those resolutions go down the toilet…
So many of us get super pumped and motivated initially, but then get kind of overwhelmed after changing so much at one time that we quit doing all of the resolutions altogether.
Take it from a dance/group fitness instructor…classes are hoppin’ in January…then they slow down in February…and it seems like nobody comes back until it’s bathing suit season. We all do it! We all make these “plans” for the new year and then forget about them when things get tough…
Here’s a little tough love for ya…don’t make resolutions! Making so many resolutions set us up for failure because we need to be realistic with changes to be made.
Here is a scenario. You are sedentary but decide for your New Year’s resolution you will workout at 5:30am before you go to work everyday. That is quite an ambitious goal! A few things may happen: 1) you go too hard in the gym, hurt yourself, and decide the gym isn’t for you and 2) you are so tired from your early workout that you have brain fog at work. Making frequent, small changes is often a better solution because you can build on the improvement you made once you accomplish it.
For instance, instead of going hard at the gym 5 days in a row after being sedentary for the past year, build your tolerance up. I would never recommend a sedentary individual to go run 5 miles on their first day. Work your way up to the fitness level you want to be.
Instead of making a bunch of resolutions for 2019, I challenge you to start right now! Make a specific goal for yourself and write it down somewhere you can see it daily. Below is a format you can use to truly see your change.
Use the S.M.A.R.T. Guide: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timeline.
Specific: What is it that you want to achieve from this “resolution” or better yet, change? Example: I want to exercise more.
Measurable: How much of this change do you want to see? Example: I want to exercise 3 days a week.
Attainable: How can you make this change happen? What do you need to do to make this change happen? Example: I need to meet with a personal trainer to help me get in the groove of working out 3 days per week.
Realistic: Is this goal achievable? Can you dedicate 3 days per week to going to the gym? Is this plan realistic for you. If it is not, look back and see what variation of the plan may be realistic for you.
Timeline: When do you want to achieve your goal? Example: I want to exercise 3 days a week within the next month.
I had a college professor tell me that is takes 21 days to start a habit…so don’t give up on it too soon! Your goal can become a habit if you stick with it long enough.
Tips for goal setting:
- Write your goal down in a journal specifically for your goals. Journal about your journey with that particular goal, and when the goal is met, use that same journal to log the rest of your goals.
- Be positive! Ain’t nobody got time for negativity. I think it is healthy to acknowledge our failures, but do it in a positive light. “I only made it to the gym twice this week, but I will do better next week.”
- Track your progress using a calendar, day planner, or dry-erase board so you won’t only be the change but you’ll also see the change.
- Plan an achievement-reward. This will give you incentive to keep working toward your goal! It could be a shopping spree, nice dinner date with your significant other, a vacation, or even just a day devoted just to you!
Ultimately, we should be setting goals as they arise instead of making a bunch of “resolutions” at once that are unrealistic and most of the time fail. Instead of setting ourselves up for failure, let’s set goals using the S.M.A.R.T. technique.
Challenge for the week: Grab a journal and write down one S.M.A.R.T. goal to implement before the new year…that way your new “habit” will already be in place!
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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