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New Year's Solution to Achieving Your Resolutions

posted Jan 31, 2020, 2:18 PM by Amanda Schlink, MS, RD, LD

The beginning of a new year is often an exciting time. For many individuals, it is a time to set resolutions for the New Year. Some involve changing priorities or habits relating to family, friends, finances, hobbies and so on. The most common resolutions fall under the category of health and wellness. These changes may involve food, being active, getting better sleep, stress management or beginning mediation practices, just to name a few. However, each year many media outlets report that most resolutions fail and typically fail within the first few months of the year. Fortunately, we’ve got a solution that will help you achieve your resolutions in this New Year.


Before we get into the solution, you might be wondering, “Why do New Year’s resolutions fail for so many people”? In reality, there are many different answers to this question. However, here are three common reasons for why New Year’s resolutions don’t last:


1)  Unrealistic Expectations:

Resolutions can be both exciting and challenging. However, a dose of reality does need to be explored early on. Most resolutions will require an element of behavior change and it’s important to be realistic with your goals from the beginning to set yourself up for success.


2)  No Plan of Action:

You may have heard the well-known phrase by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” In its simplest terms, a plan needs to be created and put in place in order to help an individual reach their goals. With no plans for action, it becomes incredibly difficult to make long-term changes.


3)  Society’s Expectations:

Many times people make New Year’s resolutions based on what society is telling them to do. Maybe it’s a hot new trend, fad diet or something that has gone viral just a few months prior. It’s important to recognize that the resolutions that you are setting are changes that you actually want to see in yourself.


Now we are ready to create our resolutions. It is imperative that each resolution (if there is more than one) is created using the SMART outline. SMART is simply an acronym that has been around since the 1980s. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. Let's walk through each one below:


·         Specific: Any resolution should be clear, concise and concrete. Ask yourself “What do I want to achieve?”


·         Measurable: You need to have a way to measure your progress and behaviors in some form. This can be accomplished through data collection via an app, photos, journals or notes. This is how you will know when you’ve reached your goal.

·         Achievable: A goal needs to be attainable and realistic. No doubt, an element of challenge and stretching your abilities is important, with the end goal still in sight.

·         Relevant: When coming up with resolutions, it’s important to ask “Why does this goal matter to me?” Also consider the question “Am I choosing this goal for the right reasons?” Both questions play a huge role in either your success or falling short of your goals down the road.

·         Time-Bound: Each resolution should have a target date or deadline for completion. This helps to accomplish smaller goals that build onto long-term goals.   

Once you have written your defined SMART goal, it’s important to track your goal progress. Consider the action steps that you will need to take in order to achieve your resolution/s. Keeping a list is an easy way to do so. Along the way, you will likely encounter both obstacles and may need additional support to keep you on track. Don’t be afraid to ask for help during these times. Lastly, celebrate the milestones. Many goals are often long-term resolutions and celebrating small victories can keep you motivated on the journey. Utilizing the SMART outline, you can achieve any resolutions all year long.