New year, new me… is that you? I think it’s all of us if we are honest. Who doesn’t wake up on January 2nd (nobody thinks these things on the 1st) and think, okay, it’s a new year, a fresh slate I can be a better person, whether it’s being a kinder person, fitter, slimmer or healthier. According to research, 73% of Irish people said they made an effort to eat more healthily in the past 12 months and 67% said they exercise more.
Over the years, I have found that when people say they want to be fitter, slimmer and healthier these are very vague ideas. They are aspirations, certainly, but without any solid grounding. You want to be fitter, great! I wholeheartedly encourage this, and I am here to support you, but what a couch potato and a gym bunny consider fit are two very different things, so which one are you aiming for? Some people want to be slimmer. If you are overweight then, maybe, this should be on your list, but there are very many slim and unhealthy people, and is that what you want? Or, is it to be healthier? Again, what exactly does that mean? How, when 2020 rolls around, will you know be able to say – yes, I’m healthier.
You need to be able to measure your success. Everyone’s goals will be different. For someone who only eats junk food it could be as simple as eating one piece of fruit a day. If you have a healthy diet, it might be about exercising twice a week. Whatever it is, your goals should be SMART. This a business acronym, which I usually hate, but it’s very relevant to setting goals around health and wellness, so please don’t dismiss it as jargon.
SMART objectives are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-specific.
Specific – what’s the end objective: I want to lose 10 kilos.
Measurable – how will you know you’ve lost the weight: bathroom scales. Note there are differences in scales and you weigh more at night than the morning so make sure to compare like with like.
Achievable – do you have 10 kilos to lose?
Realistic – are you putting the right resources in place to achieve this? Can you find the time to exercise and eat well? Will you go out every weekend and finish the night with a kebab or a spice bag in hand? Be honest with yourself.
Time-specific – set an end date: by my holidays in June.
The other important thing to bear in mind that you don’t have to do everything in January. New year’s resolutions are year-long resolutions. So, if you’re goal is to lose 10 kilos it doesn’t have to happen in the space of four weeks. That’s unrealistic, unwise and unhealthy. You should set smaller targets on the way to your end goal and you can tick off as you go. Aim for 1/2 kilo a week, unless of course there is a deadline. In which case, you can ramp it up. But aim low to start. If you hit your first target it will spur you on to hit your next, instead of aiming too high, missing the target and feeling like it’s not worth trying at all. Little by little you your small achievements will build into big ones. And, every time you meet your smaller targets you will get a massive confidence boost that will keep you motivated to move on to the next stage.
You can also build rewards into your targets. When you hit the 1o kilo mark, buy yourself a new top, something you wouldn’t normally buy yourself. But not food, try not to think of food as a reward because it can get complicated and too many food rewards could undo the good work.
We are now into the second week of the new year and most people (hopefully) still have their resolutions firmly in mind but it’s from this point on that many fall by the wayside, and begin to slip. For some, this is enough to give up completely. But, if you have fallen off the wagon already, that’s fine. Get back on. Reassess your goals and begin anew. If you fall off the wagon in June, do the same thing. That’s the problem with new year’s resolutions, we think we can only make them in January, that’s why we need to make resolutions for a new year, and you can make these any time you like. Just keep your SMART objectives in mind and you can begin to make your new year’s resolution a new habit for the year.
Contact me if you would like some help with any of the above: firstname.lastname@example.org