January is always an exciting time to set goals for the year. One of your new year’s resolutions might be weight loss or increase exercise. This is a very common resolution. We might start by hitting the gym “hard” for an extended period or decide to make healthy meals. Then we realized there is not enough time to get to the gym this week. Meal preparation take a lot of planning, shopping and chopping and not manageable because there is just not enough time!
Often, what we don’t realize is that the problem isn’t that we can’t stick to our resolutions-it’s that we need to make resolutions that are achievable.
Here are some steps to set yourself up for success.
- Make smaller resolutions. For instance, your resolution might be stop eating chocolate. How realistic is that? Probably unlikely. It might be a better to set a goal of eating a small piece of chocolate 1-3 times per week.
- Be S.M.A.R.T with your goal. SMART stand for:
Set small specific goals that will keep you encouraged along the way. For
instance, if your goal is to exercise 1 hour everyday and you have not been at the gym in the past year and still working 40+ hours per week, how realistic is it? It might be more realistic if you set a SMART goal of walking 10-15 mins every
Saturday morning and Sunday morning. Set yourself up for success.
- Write down your goal. When you write down your goal, there is a greater sense of accountability. Post your goal of the fridge, bathroom mirror or write them down in a journal. Journaling can help you reflect on your progress.
- Check in with yourself regularly. Reassess your goal throughout your journey. You might realize that the original goal was unrealistic. Look at your lifestyle and revise your goals to make sure they fit into your schedule.
- Reward yourself. It is easy to feel discouraged along the way. That’s why it is important to celebrate the small successes along the way. For instance, if your goal is to lose 50 lbs, it might be a good idea to celebrate every 10 lbs lost. Reward yourself with a new purse, shoes, book, etc. Avoid rewarding yourself with food, this will create a vicious cycle of unhealthy relationship with food.
- Have some self-compassion. More likely than not, we will slip up on our resolution. What matters is how we handle it. There are those who spend several days feeling guilty and might “give up” on all their efforts. Then there are those who acknowledge the slip up and get right back on track and continue their efforts. A few setbacks should not undo all the effort. I would advise some self-compassion and figure out how to prevent it from happening again.