Rather than waiting for New Years’ Day, feeling bloated and sluggish, to make resolutions, which are usually triggered by guilt — why not think about them early this year!
Since the bulk (pun intended) of most New Years’ Resolutions involve weight loss and exercise, we will stick with that topic today.
Many people use the SMART approach to making goals:
S - Specific M - Measurable A - Attainable
R - Realistic
T - Time dependent
While this can be useful,especially in a business setting, I would like to suggest some little tweaks which might really work for the average person.
We will keep the S for specific, because otherwise how will you know when you meet your goal if it has not been defined?
I prefer the M to stand for meaningful or motivational!
Surely seeing your blood sugars and blood pressure improve due to better nutrition and exercise habits is more meaningful than just trying to look better in your clothes?
For some people, under the care of their family doctor, this might mean being able to get off some prescription medications!
Let's make A attainable or action oriented. And here is where I would like to suggest the biggest change to the traditional advice.
The thinking used to be in goal setting that we should make our goals lofty— “Reach for the stars, and you might reach the moon”.
This sounds great, but often in practice it just stresses people out and they give up when they do not hit the target.
There is a new line of thought that goes like this — set really really small goals, and these are therefore really easy to achieve.
Success then breeds success. So, to give a concrete example — it is all well and good aiming to lose two pounds a week.
However, when you then “only” lose 1 pound , you feel like a failure. So, set the small goal of losing one pound a week, every week — and by the end 2017 you will have lost 52 pounds!
If you only need to lose around 20-25 pounds, you will be feeling trim and confident in time for Canada Day beach parties.
R is for realistic, which seems a lot like Attainable, so I suggest that R should stand for rewarding.
Make sure it is a goal that rewards you, and not what someone else has suggested for you.
Maybe feeling fitter and stronger so that you can bike on the KVR next summer with your grandchildren feels like a better goal than looking better in your jeans!
T can be for time dependent but this puts pressure on you again — what if I haven’t hit that goal by Canada Day?
Make T for tangible or trackable instead. If you get away from trying to lose an exact amount of weight which is difficult to control and rather make the goal that you will go for a half hour walk every day — that is something you can happily mark up on your calendar every day and have a great feeling of achievement!