Just like, It’s Not a Diet It’s a Healthy Lifestyle…It’s Not a New Year’s Resolution, It’s an Attainable Goal
A friend recently asked me what my New Year’s Resolutions were and quickly realized who she was talking to and remembered that I don’t necessarily believe in New Year’s Resolutions, which started a discussion regarding my thoughts on the matter. Although I wrote a blog about goal setting last year around this time of year (http://www.louieskids.org//dr-rachel-blog-goal-setting-making-plans-making-stick/), I never really explained my thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions and I think my thought process can help YOU decide to no longer think about New Year’s Resolutions the way that you do and perhaps actually come up with some goals that you CAN actually accomplish.
So, my first question to you is WHY plan to make a goal only ONE day of the year? Why not plan to do things that you WANT to do EVERY day? Similarly, WHY plan to improve you and start getting healthy ONE specific day and why not just decide to do it NOW? We can all say we are going to do something tomorrow, or the next day, or wait until January 1st, but if YOU are serious about making a change, then just plan to do it NOW and don’t wait another day. Who says we have to wait until January 1st to improve ourselves? Why can’t we do things to better ourselves every day? Also, if you do wait until this one special day of the year to make a change (New Year’s Day), then you are putting some serious pressure on yourself. Not only have you probably told people about it and now have expectations from others and yourself, but you also won’t be happy until you accomplish that one big goal you have been meaning to accomplish (possibly for years). Additionally, being that it is a New Year’s Resolution, it is probably something that you have tried to accomplish in the past, but failed and is a huge endeavor which is impossible to accomplish quickly. So, why set yourself up for failure? Why be sad and feel like a failure until the day you accomplish it (i.e. quit smoking or lose X amount of weight)? Why not start seeing a change and being happy NOW?
To make matters worse, you also probably didn’t fully plan HOW you plan to accomplish that goal or fulfill that New Year’s Resolution, but probably just said something like “this is the year I will quit smoking” or “I am going to finally start going to the gym.” Well, let me tell you, I go to the gym year-round and I am happy to see these new faces at the gym, but the unfortunate part is life happens and for the same reason those new faces at the gym didn’t continue to go to the gym before, they are no longer at the gym a few weeks, or a few months later- how frustrating for us all?
So, the answer is if it just so happens to be New Years and you want to set a goal, set something called a long term goal. A long term goal is something that you actually don’t plan to accomplish today or tomorrow, but you actually plan to accomplish it in the future. Then breakdown that goal into smaller and more realistic goals (SMART goals). The smaller goals should be something that is in YOUR control, something you CAN do—meaning a behavior. For instance, if you want to lose weight then some good behavioral goals would involve your water intake, food intake, and exercise. These are behaviors that YOU are in control of and if you do them you are actually working towards, and one step closer to, your long term goal. Further, the advantage of short term goals is that you feel a sense of accomplishment quickly. For instance, set a short term goal for this week to go to the gym X amount of time or drink X amount of water (very specific and measurable) and if you accomplish those goals, you succeeded today (yippee!) and….you don’t have to wait to feel a sense of accomplishment. That sense of accomplishment will then give you the motivation to keep going and set more short term goals that will help you inevitably reach your long term goal.
Make sense? Now, think about what YOU CAN DO this week, not next week, and set a SMART goal for yourself (see previous posts on goal settings to help with this) that you can be happy about accomplishing by next week and will get you one step closer to accomplishing that long term goal.
Remember, it’s a lifestyle, not a diet, and definitely not a New Year’s Resolution.
Have questions? Need help setting SMART goals? Post a comment or email me. I am here to help and to cheer YOU on along the way. It is possible to be successful, just don’t set yourself up for failure by setting New Year’s Resolutions, instead start NOW!