STOP setting your inevitably failing New Year’s resolutions. This year instead, refocus on your why. Take a step back. Think about your long term goals and dreams. (Yes, we are going to get deep.)
Depending on your stage of life, your goals and dreams may look different from many others reading this article. However, at one point or another, we have all taken advantage of the “new year/new me mindset” and have made an effort to achieve a resolution.
Instead of getting caught up in the resolution mindset of “this is the year I will finally resolve to ‘lose the weight’ or ‘prioritize my sleep,’” let us get more specific by first looking at the big picture.
Going back to my original thought, what are your goals and dreams? Do you want to have more energy in the office? Retire soon and travel the world? Be able to play on the floor with your grandkids one day? Finally, get rid of that pesky acne? Come off some of your prescription medications?
Whatever those goals and dreams are, let us now focus on the short term path to reaching those bigger, usually time-consuming goals and far off dreams.
It is time for us to talk about how.
Quality and Hopefully, Quantity
You have control over the quality of the life you lead. What you put in your body and how much you move it has been two proven factors time and time again that have the potential to degrade your quality of life. But only if you let it.
I’m here to remind you that the power is in your hands to choose. The ball is in your court, my friend. Yes, there are environmental factors that make prioritizing more difficult for some versus others, but we all have the power to make an effort, or not.
Now that you have picked your long term goal or dream to work toward, let’s now create a smaller goal to help you get there. Being as specific as possible here is important. Pick a habit to improve the quantity or quality of that will help you reach your long term goal.
You can use a SMART goal, if you’d like, to help form your new habit. However, what we are starting here is beyond the SMART goal. In fact, to reach your long-term goal you will most likely need to use several SMART or specific short-term goals.
Where Do Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail?
I have found through my personal experience, as well as in 5 plus years working with clients, that resolutions are either not specific enough or not long term minded. If we don’t specify with “if this, then that” statements when creating resolutions, we are more likely to crumble under pressure.
Also, creating something too short term like lose weight before spring break or get my new certification before summer, will come and go with the end date.
Rather I suggest we create these long-term goals such as “work toward becoming the healthiest version of myself this year.” Short term goals included that we will make more specific are: increase my stretching routine, improve the quality of the vegetables I use in my cooking, and limit my Netflix before bed. Then by setting an amount of time dedicated to reaching that small goal, writing “if this, then” statements, making sure they are realistic, and creating specific ways to measure your progress will all lead you to success.
The short-term goal list can then continue to build off of each goal, which is exactly what we want.
No more are the resolutions set to crumble under pressure or be half-satisfied when the deadline approaches and you don’t know how to adapt or did not set further long term goals.
We can’t accomplish these bigger, long term goals and dreams without using the smaller ones as stepping stones to get us there. Changing habits is one way I help my clients reach their long-term goals. Focus on quality and quantity to start, and let your journey build from there.
Kathryn Terry, MS, CPT, PN 1
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