Five Steps for Attainable New Year's Resolutions

Author

Good Samaritan Medical Center - SCL Health

Posted on

Jan 04, 2023

Book/Edition

Colorado - Boulder County

2023 brings new beginnings and resolutions for change. It could be the holiday snacks and sweets that inspire weight loss goals. It's a tradition to jot down self-improvement ideas. Whether it's intentional or subconscious, most people have health resolutions.

It's fun to make New Year's resolutions but hard to keep them. By the end of the year, studies show only 9 percent of people are successful. We've provided tips and tricks to reach your goals, but what makes them attainable?

How to make attainable New Year's resolutions:

Step 1: Narrow in with a purpose
It's tempting to generalize goals like "eat healthier" or "exercise more." But goals like this limit success—clear goals with defined motivation yield more substantial results. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and why.

Example: Instead of saying you want to "eat healthier," think about the reason. It could be wanting to lose weight, reduce disease risk, or save money by cooking at home. Knowing purpose will help narrow the goal, such as: "Make four dinners that meet USDA nutritional standards each week until the end of the year."

Step 2: Break it down
You've probably heard of SMART goals. They are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based goals if you haven't. Break your goals down to address these parameters.

Example: Let's expand on the "eating healthier" resolution. Perhaps "make four dinners that meet USDA nutritional standards each week, until the end of the year" is specific, measurable, relevant, and time-based but not attainable. Be honest with yourself, and don't be afraid to start small! Only you know what you can do.

Step 3: Create accountability
After you have your goal, create accountability. The digital age makes this step easy. Create an online goal calendar, set up daily notifications on your phone, or blog about your experience.

If you go the blog route, document recipes, and your health transformation. Make calendar reminders of your schedule, and update if things change. Example: Monday through Thursday is the most realistic cooking day, and Sunday is food shopping.

Step 4: Visualize and prioritize
Before New Year's Day, visualize what your resolution will look like. Sit down and envision the details of your resolution. You've made a purposeful SMART goal and built accountability around it. Understanding where your plan fits day-to-day will prioritize the outcome.

Example: Depending on where you're starting, cooking four meals a week could be a significant change. Visualizing this new goal will help understand the commitment, such as planning recipes, buying produce, and time spent cooking. Once you have that insight, prioritize all steps involved.

Step 5: Know it's OK to try again
Don't count on it but understand it's OK to slip up. Don't be the person who gives up their New Year's resolution upon the first failure. Everybody makes mistakes, so have compassion and try again! Identify the reason for the slip-up and see if there's a way to avoid it. There's no shame in adjusting your goal.

Example: Don't toss your apron if you get to the third month and have yet to make four healthy meals that week. Use it as an opportunity to refocus and get back on track. As Confucius once said, "Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail." 

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