Every year on January 1, New Year resolutions are made. Unfortunately, only 8% of people stick with their resolution. I am not saying that you should skip making a resolution and continue with old habits. In fact, I think resolutions are a great way to get motivated to make healthy changes; however, resolutions need to be “SMART.” Resolutions that are SMART goals are smaller, short-term goals that end up leading to bigger, long-term goals. Setting these types of goals will make you more likely to stick with a change, stay motivated, and reach your long-term goal.
The acronym “SMART” refers to:
- Specific — Goals should be as specific as possible. Instead of saying “I will run more,” you would say “I will run three miles on four days every week.”
- Measurable — You should have a way to track your goal so you will know if you reached it.
- Attainable — Your goal should be realistic. While a long-term goal could be to lose 50 pounds, a more attainable goal could be to lose four pounds a month. Setting your goal up this way will keep you motivated and focused on your overall goal.
- Realistic — Your goal shouldn’t be too hard OR too easy. You should also have or be able to get all needed materials and resources. For example, don’t decide to ski more when the ski resort is six states away.
- Time bound — Set a date to reach your goal! A week or two is a good time limitation to meet a short-term SMART goal.
Try using a “smarter” format for setting your New Year’s resolutions this year, and you will be unstoppable!
Here are the top five New Year’s resolutions and some tips on how to stick with them!
1. Stay fit and healthy and lose weight.
- Find an exercise buddy! Having support and a source of accountability is a great way to stick with this goal!
- Try something new! Find an exercise class or type of workout you enjoy!
- Track calories. A great place to start with a weight loss goal is to start tracking calories to see how many you eat in an average day. Reduce this number gradually to start losing weight in a healthy way.
- Watch your portions. Avoid seconds and thirds of high-calorie foods. Fill up on extra vegetables if you are still hungry.
- Add some physical activity. Strive for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Anything 10 minutes or longer counts towards this goal.
2. Quit smoking
Quitting smoking is tough; fortunately, there are amazing programs, resources, and support to help! Get connected with a program or two and set a quit date. Then get your family and friends to support your commitment to an amazing change! For some information on programs available, check out our blog posts about what to expect when quitting smoking, nicotine replacement therapy, and more!
3. Spend less, save more.
- Make your coffee at home and put the money you would have spent at the coffee shop in a savings jar.
- Take public transportation instead of driving to work, and put your parking money into a savings account.
- Buy lunch less; eating out can be really expensive! It is much cheaper (and healthier) to make your own lunch!
- Cancel unnecessary subscriptions. If you have a home phone that is never used, cancel it and use your cell phone.
- Clip some coupons! Shopping while groceries are on sale or when you have a coupon can some serious money!
4. Make time for family and friends.
- Put spending time with family and friends on your schedule and keep your commitment.
- Find activities everyone enjoys. Try ice skating, going to the museum, or having a movie night in.
- Make a get-together with friends a regular occurrence. Try meeting up every other Tuesday for something to look forward to!
5. Eat healthy.
- Try to eat a healthy salad for lunch two times a week.
- Cut out pop and other sugary drinks.
- Pack fruits and veggies as a midday snack and avoid the vending machines.
- Make small substitutions in recipes to make them a little healthier. Try using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, or replacing the oil in desserts with applesauce.
- Try meatless days. Avoid eating meat one day a week and add some plant proteins and more fruits and veggies on that day.