A new year always brings new beginnings. Whether your goal for the new year is to eat healthier, exercise more, or both, make sure that your New Year’s Resolution is SMART.
This is referring to the “who,” “what,” and “where” of your goal. For example, if your goal is to simply “eat healthier” that is a bit vague. You might want to fine-tune your goal by saying that to eat healthier this year, you would like to start drinking more water at work.
You won’t know if you achieved your goal or not unless you pick something that is easy to measure. This holds you accountable, and makes it very clear whether you are meeting your expectations, or need to push a bit harder. If your goal is to drink more water at work, you might pick an amount to make it more measurable. So instead of your goal being “I want to drink more water at work” it would be “I want to start drinking 6, 8 ounce glasses of water each work day.”
It may sound obvious, but you should really pick a goal that you can see yourself accomplishing. The new year is a great time to turn over a new leaf, but if you reach too far too fast you’ll only end up disappointing yourself and quitting all together. It’s better to set several small, obtainable goals, than one large goal that will take too much time or effort to achieve. If you meet your first, smaller goal, you can always make another one! This isn’t to say you shouldn’t challenge yourself, just be realistic! Meeting several smaller goals is a lot more motivating than trying to catch up to a large one. For example, if your goal is to “lose 5 pounds,” you’ll have much more to celebrate after those 5 pounds are gone versus someone who makes their goal to lose 50. You feel accomplished after those 5 pounds are gone, and it will motivate you to lose more! The other person feels defeated because they still have 45 pounds to go!
You should also pick a goal that’s relevant to your desires and overall goals for yourself as a person. This ties together quite nicely with “achievable,” because frankly you aren’t going to want to achieve a goal that you don’t care about, and that isn’t relevant to your life.
Last but not least, a SMART goal is one that has a time limit. If you truly want to achieve your goal, setting a time limit holds you accountable and pushes you into changing your habits. For example, your goal could be that you would like to learn how to ride a bike. You can make your goal time bound by giving yourself a time-limit, say, by the end of the summer.
Hopefully these tips were helpful when thinking about your possible new year resolutions and goals! For more healthy eating and activity tips, visit USDA.gov.
SMART Goals info sourced from CDC.gov.