We’re almost at the end of the first month of the year (where does the time go?!). It’s tradition to make resolutions at the start of every new year. But most people aren’t able to keep up with the expectations they set for themselves and resolutions end up out the window by mid-February. I’d like to offer a way to re-evaluate the resolutions that we created a few weeks ago. We can make them S.M.A.R.T. resolutions to help set ourselves up for success. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Using this method to create goals and resolutions has been proven to help keep people accountable as well as have higher success with meeting (and even exceeding!) their goals. It helps keep track of exactly what needs to be accomplished when, and how to know when it’s done. Here is a description on how to incorporate each factor.
Specific – When creating a goal, be as specific as possible with the end result. If applicable, give it a number value. Most people want to get in more exercise during the week. So instead of saying “I want to exercise more”, be specific by saying “I want to exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.” Adding in even more detail will really help you hone into what you want to accomplish. Building on our example, this would look something like “During the 4 exercise sessions a week, I will do 2 strength training, 2 cardio, and 1 flexibility session.” This leaves no room for interpretation and leads us into our next component.
Measurable – In order to decide whether we’ve met our goals, we need to be able to measure the success of achieving them. This is where the specificity comes in. By using those numbers we talked about, there will be a concrete idea of what the goal is and whether or not it’s been reached. Quantifying the end result will make it so that when we ask ourselves if the goal was reached or not, there is no doubt. In the example here, if only 3 exercise sessions are completed this week, then the goal hasn’t been met. But if 5 sessions are done, then expectations have been exceeded!
Achievable – It happens often that when resolutions are made, they are set with unrealistic expectations. If you haven’t exercised a single day in the last 2 years, it’s not likely that you’ll be hitting the gym every day. This is why it’s important to check in with yourself and set goals that are challenging, but within reach. Once motions are put into action and you’ve been able to achieve maintenance, then goals can be adjusted to keep challenging yourself and building up to where you want to be. So maybe a more achievable goal in this case would be starting with 3 days a week instead of 5, and then building up to 5 over a few months. It’s important to consider what limitations or problems might arise so that you can be prepared to overcome them. If you know that Wednesday nights are usually family nights, then make sure to not schedule any workouts that night. If you know you don’t like doing kickboxing, then sign up for a different type of class that you think is more fun.
Relevant – This factor can often be thought of as the motivating factor behind why we have chosen this specific goal. Every person has their own reasons for setting their resolutions. You want to make sure that your goals are relevant to you and what you want. If your best friend wants to enter a body building competition, that’s impressive but it has nothing to do with your goal of wanting to be more flexible. When creating your SMART goals, think about your motivation, make sure you’re setting your expectations based on what you want, and let that drive you.
Time-based – Now that we know what we want to achieve, we should set a time limit on when we want to achieve it by. This will help keep us accountable. It will also give us a time frame to check-in with our progress and re-evaluate our goals. This factor can be tricky sometimes because certain goals may be a one time and done type of event, where some are indefinite. A one-time event may be a relay race or triathlon that you want to compete in. But wanting to start an exercise routine and keep up with it may be something you want to do for as long as possible. If that’s the case, then you want to break your goal up into sections. If you’re new to exercising, start with a manageable time-frame like keeping up with your new routine for 3 months. If you’ve already been working out for a while, use the time-frame to build onto what you’ve started. For example, “I want to increase the amount of weight I can consistently lift by 20 pounds in 3 months.” A goal like this allows you to work towards something while still being able to build on it afterwards.
Now that we know the 5 components of creating SMART goals, how will you use this to re-evaluate your new year’s resolutions? Let me know!
As always, I am available for free consults for meal plan holders. If you need help creating nutrition or wellness goals, please reach out.
Stay safe, stay healthy!