It’s a new year and for most of us that means New Year’s resolutions. Making New Year’s resolutions is a great way to start the year and set a positive tone for the next 12 months. The tricky part is sticking to those resolutions.
Whether it’s something big, like quitting smoking, or something smaller, like trying a new yoga studio, there are things you can do from the get-go to set you up for success all year long.
Set SMART goals
SMART goals help you focus your efforts to help you achieve what you want. They are tangible and help you measure your success.
- Specific: The goal is precise. For example, “To help me relax more, I will attend a yoga class at least four days a week for the next month.” With this goal, you will know exactly how many yoga classes you’ve attended each week.
- Measurable: You can tell whether or not you have achieved the goal.
- Achievable: Your goal should challenge you, but not be overwhelming.
- Relevant: This goal is appropriate because research has shown that exercise and mindful meditation can help reduce stress.1
- Time-bound: Your goal is limited in time. At the end of a month, you can continue with this goal or commit to a new one. 2,3
Start small, think big
Success is a combination of small steps and big-picture thinking. For example, with the SMART goal above, remember that yoga can boost weight loss and help you maintain your weight as well as increase muscle strength and flexibility.3 Thinking about how your goal fits into your life will help you keep things in perspective and keep you motivated.4
Aside from keeping your goals in perspective, what are other ways you can stay motivated?
- Make it a team effort. Invite a friend to join you in your resolution. You’ll be less likely to slack if you know someone else is in it with you.
- Practice mind over matter. Picturing your success will make your goal feel all the more real.
- Celebrate your victories. Committing to a goal is no small thing. Once you’ve achieved your goal, treat yourself to something fun and special, like a massage or some new gym gear.
The best part of setting a goal to start something new is that you can always start again. If you slip up or hit a motivation slump, try not to stress about it. Congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished so far and begin again.5,6
New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity for a fresh start. Open yourself up to new possibilities and establish habits that will lead to a happier, healthier you!
Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.
- MayoClinic.org: Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/yoga/art-20044733 Accessed 12-16-16.
- WebMD: S.M.A.R.T. Weight Loss and Your Fitness Device. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/smart-weight-loss-fitness-device Accessed 12-5-16.
- Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: Yoga — Benefits Beyond the Mat. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat Accessed 12-16-16.
- Smokefree.gov: 3 Things to Keep in Mind When Setting Goals and Expectations. Available at: http://women.smokefree.gov/your-weight-loss-expectations-goals/3-things-to-keep-in-mind-when-setting-weight-loss-expectations-goals.aspx Accessed 12-2-16.
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “Guide to Behavior Change.” Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/behavior.htm Accessed 12-2-16.
- Nemours Foundation: Motivation and the Power of Not Giving Up. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/motivation.html Accessed 12-2-16.
Posted on Thu, December 29, 2016
by Alex McManus