New Year's (or any time) resolutions you can actually stick to

The 1st of the year is seen by many as a fresh start; a time to look forward and set a New Year’s Resolution. New Year’s resolutions aren’t for everyone – in fact, only a small percentage of people set a new Year’s Resolution, and an even smaller percentage will actually keep theirs.

These resolutions are usually hard to keep because people tend to set too many goals at once and their goals are very broad! It can be really easy to go into the new year with several very broad goals in mind (usually worded something like “do this activity more” or “do this activity less”) and because the wording isn’t very specific, that handful of goals suddenly morphs into one big, non-specific goal.

Sound familiar?

Instead of going into the New Year with a regular old resolution, make a SMART goal

What's a SMART goal?

A SMART goal is a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

  • SpecificOne reason goals to “lose weight,” or “get healthier” don’t work is because there are no specifics on how you’re going to meet those goals.

    It can be really easy to drop your resolution “eat healthier” if you never wrote down the specifics of what that goal meant to you – did it mean you were going to eat salad for every single meal, or give up all sweets? You need to define all the specifics of your goal to achieve it.
  • Measurable – By being able to measure a goal, you will have tangible evidence that you’re working towards your goal or meeting your goals. Instead of “going to the gym more” you would set a goal to “go to the gym 3 nights per week.”
  • Attainable – Your goal should challenge you, but shouldn’t be out of reach that you never attain it. You should be able to write down the steps to meet your goals.

    You wouldn’t set a goal to train for a marathon and then never run more than 3 miles during your training – you would usually follow a very detailed, specific plan that has you meeting certain milestones before being able to run the full marathon.
  • RealisticBe realistic with yourself and flexible with your goal. Remember, you can always set a new goal after you’ve met your first goal.

    This is especially true for those goals that might reduce certain habits. If you’ve never been able to give up sweets completely, maybe try reducing your sweets intake to a couple squares of dark chocolate per day that you will really savor.

    Another goal people have is to “lose weight” and they usually have a big goal in mind with very little patience. It’s better to have goals that are focused more on health and fitness (i.e., lifting heavier weights or packing your lunch), which will lead to weight loss, instead of being so hard on themselves for not losing 10 lbs. in a week.

    P.S. throw away the New Year’s Diet – if diets worked, there wouldn’t be so many of them.
  • Time-bound – This means you will have a time frame for meeting your long-term goal, but also for those shorter-term goals and steps along the way. Having a time-frame helps you determine what your steps should be to meet your goals.

SMART Goal Examples:

    1. Eat more meatless meals by making 2 new vegetarian recipes per week.
      Action: Bookmark recipes online or in a vegetarian cookbook. Make a plan to shop once a week for ingredients for new recipes.

    2. Walk 10,000 steps every day by March 1st
      Action: Increase steps by 200 steps per day each week starting January 1st until step count reaches 10,000 steps per day.

    3. I will eat better to fuel my training this year by substituting my usual candy bar and chips snack with a healthier option.
      Action: Write out which snacks I will have for the week and pack in my bag: apples and walnuts, cheese stick and grapes, homemade trail mix, peanut butter and jelly, hardboiled egg and a pear, Greek yogurt with berries and granola, etc.

    4. Get stronger by going to the gym 3 times per week.
      Action: Find a gym and get a membership. Make the most of your gym time by getting a personal training plan.

There are many goals you can set for yourself, but make sure you set a SMART goal instead of a regular old resolution to ensure you’ll be able to follow through with it during the whole year.

Fitness isn’t one-size-fits-all, and the team at Sanford Sports Performance develops training programs to help you meet your personal fitness goals. From individual to large-group training, Sanford Sports Performance can help you reduce your risk of injury, improve overall health and fitness, and increase mobility, flexibility and strength. 

Contact your location today to find out more on training options.