Do you write New Year’s resolutions? And do you keep them?
I have been writing resolutions for many years. I carry them with me in my purse in a mini photo album I bought for a dollar.
I make resolutions about changes I want to make in my life, of course. I also make fun resolutions about things I want to do; more like a bucket list. I make some that I know I can accomplish in a short time, and others that I know will take more than a year to achieve.
Every year, about this time, I look back and see what I have accomplished. I am always pleasantly surprised to see that I have achieved a lot of what I set out to do.
There are always ones I did not achieve and that is okay with me, because sometimes circumstance or other obstacles get in the way. What matters to me is that I tried.
I read that when you make a resolution over and over, that means that is an important goal for you, not a failure.
One thing I have learned that the more specific my goal was, the more likely I was to achieve it. You have probably heard of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for goals that are
Timely (or time-bound).
So, my biggest resolution is to lose weight in 2020. The first thing I did was some research. I learned that to lose weight, I need to cut between 500 and 1000 calories through diet and exercise each day. If you I this, I can lose from 1 to 2 pounds a week. I was happy to learn this because I wanted to lose a lot of weight. But I checked with my doctor. She said my plan to eat only 1200 calories a day would not work for me because of my health conditions. She advised me not to dip below 1800 calories a day. Am I ever glad I checked with her! I had to accept that my weight loss would be more gradual. After doing research and talking with my doctor, I settled on a goal of losing 25 pounds in 2020. I felt this was achievable.
To write this as a SMART goal, I am going to say
“I resolve to lose 25 pounds in 2020. I plan to achieve this goal by eating green vegetables, reducing the amount of soda I drink and going to the YMCA to work out on the treadmill, elliptical trainer and weight machines. When I have lost 10 pounds I will start to take exercise classes, as well. I know I will be making progress on this goal by weighing myself each month. My monthly goal is to lose 2 pounds a month.
So, my goal is very specific. I know exactly how much weight I plan to lose. I know from my research that it is achievable. It is realistic — I already have a YMCA membership and I like working out on the machines. I set a schedule so my goal is time-bound. It is also timely because I happen to have more time to devote to my health this year.
Here are some more tips I learned about sticking to your plan.
- Get support. I can definitely use support to achieve my goal. This weekend, I met some lovely, like-minded people who are also working on goals. We are going to meet once a month to motivate each other. I can also use an app on my phone to track my progress and send me reminders.
- Focus on the mini steps on the way to the goal. As an example, for me, 25 pounds is a pretty big goal. Maybe too big. So, I need to focus on losing and keeping off 2 pounds in January. That feels less daunting. Then in February, I can focus on the next step. I break down my big goal into little ones. Success at each step will motivate me to keep going.
- Concentrate on making lifestyle changes that will support your goal. How long do you think it takes to make a habit like going to the gym work? A month? 3 months? I have heard 21 days. What do you think? I suppose it is different for everyone. I am hoping in a month, it will become a healthy routine for me.
- Think about obstacles. There will be times when life gets in the way. For example, it could snow for a week or I could get the flu and not be able to get to the gym. Or I might just lose confidence. That has definitely happened before. I will have to think about ways to get back on track when that happens. If it snows — I can exercise at home? But if I lose confidence, what should I do? I will talk to the YMCA about that. Maybe they will have some ideas.
- Make it relevant. Not everyone achieves their goal in the same way. I do want to lose weight but realistically I can’t stick to the goal of never drinking a soda. I know this because I have tried to do that and failed over and over. I just really like ginger ale. I have to come up with ways to eat healthier while still having a soda once in a while.
It bears repeating that writing your goals down and even keeping them with you can help you achieve them. This weekend, we worked on vision boards. My goal is on the vision board and it will go in the bathroom so I can see it first thing in the morning. I’m determined! And psyched!
What ideas do you have for sticking to your goals?