Do you even make New Year’s Resolutions? Here’s a news flash for you – I don’t. I think it’s silly to make vague promises to oneself that will probably go by the wayside. I was watching the Today Show on New Year’s Day and Matt Lauer was talking about resolutions. He said something that really struck me. Most people give up on their resolutions by January 17th. That isn’t even a full 3 weeks, People! I’ve heard you need at least 3 weeks to turn a new behavior into a habit. I’m pretty sure this is backed by hard science somewhere and I can attest that my gym will be much more empty by the end of January than it has been for the past few days.
Let me issue a challenge.
Make changes to your lifestyle that are rooted in behaviors that you know are challenging but also attainable. Start small and build on what you are learning. In the Special Education field (which is my real life job), we are taught to write SMART goals for our students. Resolutions or SMART goals, which do you write?
Specific – target a specific area for improvement, such as increasing your consumption of vegetables.
Measurable – generate a “number” of sorts to show progress. Know what your starting point is – maybe you eat veggies once a week and you’d like to increase that to 5 times per week.
Attainable – this speaks to making your goals realistic. If you never eat vegetables, expecting yourself to eat them twice a day, 7 days a week is probably unrealistic.
Relevant – are you creating a goal or lifestyle change that really means something to you? If you aren’t truly invested in your goal, chances are you will give up on it pretty quickly.
Time bound – you must give yourself a target date. This is why I suggested starting small and building. Set a goal that you can achieve within 3 weeks then when you reach your goal, set a new one.
So, how would this look in our quest to include more vegetables in our diet? Your goal may look something like this:
By January 21, 2014, I will increase my consumption of vegetables from 1 meal per week to 5 meals per week, as measured by logging on My Fitness Pal.
You can expand your SMART goal to make it a SMARTER goal by adding two more steps.
Evaluate and Reevaluate to ensure your goals are not forgotten. Document on them daily or weekly – don’t wait until your end date to see if you are on track.
What is your SMART goal for 2014?
In case you missed it, we have some great challenges and events happening here at Shrinking Jeans. Don’t forget to check out the New Years Weight Loss Boot Camp and our latest virtual race, the Shamrock Shuffle.