New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year again! For many people, it’s a new round, new opportunities. People make resolutions; lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more. The gym is crowded, and diet products are flying off the shelves. Soon, many give up, and after a few weeks, those resolutions fade away, and people fall back into their old patterns.

I can relate to this all too well. How many times I’ve tried to quit smoking, lose weight, go to bed earlier, eat healthier, and so on. And preferably all at once! No one can sustain that! I haven’t smoked for years now, and the diet books are in the recycling bin. But how do you bring a positive change into your life? Often, we set out unprepared, without a clear goal in mind. Remember, “a good start is half the battle.” So, make a plan and don’t randomly pick a resolution. To shape this well, you can make your resolution S.M.A.R.T. Here’s an explanation of what that means:

S = Specific

Make your goal or resolution specific. What do you want to do? Why do you want to do it? Where will you do it? Who is involved? It’s a matter of clearly and concretely describing the goal.

Also, state your motivation for your resolution. When I quit smoking, I could list many reasons why I wanted to live smoke-free. This makes you more driven and stronger to achieve it.

M = Measurable

Make your goal measurable. An example of a non-measurable goal: “I want to go to bed earlier in the evening.” What does that mean, going to bed earlier, and how will you measure it? It’s better to say, “I want to be in bed every night by 11:00 PM.” This is clearly measurable.

A = Acceptable

Phrase the goal positively and ensure you accept it. For instance, if you want to quit smoking but deep down, you’d rather remain a smoker, then you don’t accept your resolution, and it’s doomed to fail. If you notice this, better search for the reason you still want to smoke. This is better than tormenting yourself with withdrawal symptoms and eventually giving in to smoke again.

R = Realistic

Ensure the goal is realistic. For example, wanting to lose 10 kg in two weeks is not realistic. Or going to the gym every day. It might be manageable for a while, but eventually, it becomes too much, and you might stop altogether (exceptions excluded).

T = Time-bound

Provide a clear start and end date or the moment when the goal is achieved. So, determine when you’ll start and when it will be finished (if applicable). For example, losing 5 kg. This is done when you’ve shed the kilos. Also, you have permanent goals that have no end date. Still, it’s essential to set a start date.

A few good examples:

  1. I will start exercising at the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from today.
  2. I will start eating at least 2 pieces of fruit every day from January 15.
  3. I will start doing something enjoyable for myself, like going out to dinner, watching TV on the couch, or dancing, at least once a week from next month.

Good luck with your resolutions!