Weighing-In on New Year’s Resolutions

How many New Year’s resolutions do you think you’ve made over the years? And of those, how many have you stuck to? Not surprisingly, the number one New Year’s resolution made is to lose weight and get fit. Or fitter; even people in good shape determine to do better — lose more weight, build muscle, and increase strength and performance.

As unsurprising as the number one resolution is, so too is this: according to Statistic Brain, nearly half of Americans make resolutions, around 46 percent, with losing weight at the top of the list. But some 49 percent of us have “infrequent success” with those resolutions and worse, 25 percent fail completely. But losing weight is just one of a number of resolutions that are inextricably tied to one another: getting more exercise, eating healthier, decreasing stress, getting better sleep, quitting smoking or cutting back on alcohol, for example. All are linked in that they represent a lifestyle change. So if that’s your resolution, to live a healthier life overall, here are myriad suggestions for how to stay on track.

According to the National Institutes of Health, setting unrealistic goals can be a recipe for failure because people can become frustrated and give up. The NIH suggests setting short-term, specific and definable goals. Once goals are set, the challenge then is committing to the change. Write down your goals and the steps you’ll take to realize them. Make a plan for how to deal with challenges so you don’t just give up. Keep track of what you’re doing with a journal, for example. And make sure to enlist help be it a friend or family member or perhaps by joining a class or gym, NIH says.

The American Council on Exercise says using the so-called SMART plan may help increase your odds of success.

The SMART acronym loosely stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound, although some replace attainable with accountable and also relevant can be replaced with realistic. The bottom line, this rubric will help whether the goal is to lose 10 or 100 pounds, run a marathon or just start walking every day, it’s all about goal-setting.

Let’s talk SMART

Specific. Make sure that whatever the goal, it’s clearly defined and specific. For example, a definitive objective like “I want to lose 10 pounds in one month,” or “I want to increase my physical activity from twice a week to four times a week.”

Measurable. Once there’s a specific goal, make sure it’s measurable. For example, tracking weight loss or steps walked on a smart phone app.

Resolutions

Attainable. Don’t make that goal too difficult to reach or too easy, for that matter. Is this something you can actually do? If you want to lose 10 pounds a month, that’s 2.5 pounds per week. Is that do-able? Make sure before setting that goal because a goal too far could result in failure. And if you shoot for a fitness goal that you know is far too easy for you, like walking 200 steps a day; that will certainly not motivate.

Making it fun, if possible, can also be a great motivator. Being held Accountable. Having a friend participating with you is a great way to hold you accountable, Her, too.

Relevant. Set goals that are important to you, not one that another may be pressuring you to achieve. Let’s be Realistic: If your goals are not good for you or will not motivate you, then they’re not worth pursuing. It could be a set-up for failure. Time. Have a starting date and an end date. Having a deadline is at once a challenge and will help to motivate you. Rewarding yourself at the end date is a good idea, too; the proverbial stick and carrot.

So, come up with some reachable SMART goals, whether it’s adding another workout day or subtracting calories make the goals ones you can achieve. Make it work.