SMART New Year’s Resolutions
by: Krista Diekemper, RD, LD
The New Year just around the corner! For many of us, the New Year offers a chance to get a do-over on those elusive New Year’s Resolutions we set last year, but quickly lost sight of by the third week of January. It is not necessarily a matter of not being committed to our resolutions, but more likely that we went about achieving them all wrong. Most people will make resolutions that are too grandiose or unachievable and then lose hope when they are not seeing the progress they expected.
Below are some tips to making New Year’s Resolutions that are attainable. The first step in reaching your goals, is to identify your end goal. Note, I said end goal, not end of January goal. Once you have your end goal identified, you want to decide what changes you need to make to reach that goal. It is these small changes that you want to start setting as your resolutions. A building does not just happen after the plans are developed; it is built on the layers of brick built upon each other. So just like the building, your goals will be achieved by making one small change at a time and continuing to build on each change.
The next step in achieving your end goal is to set smaller goals. You can do this by using the SMART approach. SMART goals provide a template to ensure that all necessary components are present to increase success.
The components of a SMART goal are as follows:
S: Specific – Be as specific as possible when identifying what you are wanting to achieve.
M: Measureable – If you do not set a goal that is measureable, you will never be able to gauge your progress in achieving it.
A: Achievable – If your goals are not something within your control, the likelihood you can meet them is going to be based on luck . . . which none of us can control.
R: Realistic– You want to make sure that your goal is realistic. If you set a goal that is too grandiose, you will become discouraged before you are able to achieve it.
T: Timely – You want to set a timeline as to when you are going to have achieved that goal, so it can hold you accountable.
The End Goal is to lose 10 pounds. If I just set this as my goal, without giving myself any direction on achieving it, the likelihood of meeting my goal would be small. However, if I made smarter goals that helped me achieve the goal over time, the likelihood of success is greatly increased.
Here is a SMART goal that supports my end goal:
By the end of January, I will be eating two (1 cup) servings of non-starchy vegetables a day.
With this goal, it specifies what needs to be done (eating two 1 cup servings of non-starchy vegetables a day), its measureable (two 1 cups servings by the end of January), its achievable (I have access to vegetables), its realistic (I didn’t say eat a pound of broccoli a day), and its timely (I know I need to be doing this by the end of January). Try this technique out with your own goal and see if it helps you achieve those elusive New Year’s Resolutions.