Today I want to talk about goals, with New Years being right around the corner. New Years resolutions are notorious for going right out the window a week later, and are often dead and buried by the end of the month. So how do we set resolutions or goals that are made to last? In college I took a course that had a whole lecture devoted to setting goals and have taken workshops and lectures on it since. We were taught goals needed to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) and since then I have learned that writing the goal isn’t the hard part… adhering to it is.
When setting a goal, or in this case a resolution, our SMART acronym tells us it needs to be specific. So instead of saying “This year I am going to eat better” you want to focus in and start with how you plan to eat better, “This year I am going to eat less fatty foods, and more fruits and vegetables”. Now we have our specific areas to focus on – fatty foods, and fruits and vegetables. Next we are going to pick on the adjectives. You can argue that “less” and “more” are measurable, but is easy to brush off a “less” or “more” goal. So when talking about eating less fatty foods it can be measured through trips through the drive through, after dinner desserts or prepackaged snacks. Eating more fruits and vegetables can be articulated as eating a total of 5 fruit and vegetable servings per day. Our final goals would sound something like this:
– Limit all desserts (cake/cookies/ice cream/etc.) to after dinner 2 nights per week in 2013.
– Eat 5 serving of fruits and vegetable a day in 2013.
Continuing with our SMART acronym we want to dissect our goals and reflect, is this attainable and realistic? Someone who is only eating 1 fruit or vegetable a day may want to reevaluate their goal and start with a target of 3 per day, which is much more plausible. Both of these goals are timely, meaning they give the period of time during which the goal needs to be accomplished. This makes everyday a new beginning, and each week a new opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle. So I told you the goal writing was the easy part…
Hopefully, now I can make you look at goals and resolutions in a new light. We can all come up with a billion of excuses when it comes to January 1st as to why we cannot eat a fruit with breakfast or why we have to swing through the drive through. However, I want you to view your goals as a promise. This is a promise to yourself to lead a healthier life, and by keeping and valuing that promise you are placing value in yourself, recognizing that you matter too. Many of us are able to critique others and tell them what they should be doing because it is in their best interest and because we care. So it is time to look at yourself in that same light, as someone you value and care about, and do what is in your best interest. Make your resolution a promise this year, and make a lasting change toward a healthier, happier life!