With Christmas day over, the lull between Boxing day and New Year’s Eve will highlight the over indulgence of food and alcohol with lingering hangovers, slumped on the sofa with a mountain of quality street still to get through. As the plans for the final assault on your body are made regarding the New Year’s Eve bash, thoughts turn to 2017, and what self-improvements we can make.……. Enter the famous “New Year’s Resolution”.
According to findings in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 50 percent of the population make resolutions each New Year. Among the top resolutions are weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management and debt reduction.
Unfortunately statistics show that almost 80% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail, with many not making it to the end of January. So why is it that the New Year’s resolutions we set ourselves fail to achieve their intended outcome?
The Oxford Dictionary definition of “Resolution” is “A firm decision to do or not to do something” “A formal expression of opinion or intention”. So a firm decision or intention. And here lies the downfall. A resolution is not a goal.
If we focus on weight loss and exercise, a common resolution would be: “I’m going to lose weight and tone up in 2017”. Okay, so what’s the plan to achieve this? How much weight do you intend to lose? When are you going to lose it by? And what does tone up mean?!!
A far better method than resolutions are to set some New Year’s “SMART” Goals:-
SPECIFIC:-Make it a clear single goal that’s relevant to you… eg.”I want to lose 4lbs of weight by 31st January.
MEASURABLE:- You’re going to need recording methods to measure progress….Take photos, waist/hip measurements, weigh once a week on the same day first thing, and keep a daily food diary.
ACHIEVEABLE: – The goal has to be achievable. Wanting to lose 2 stone in 4 weeks is a nice thought, but realistically out of reach in a healthy lifestyle change approach. Health based weight loss is 1-2lb per week, so a 4lb weight loss is achievable, while making small changes to your diet and activity.
REALISTIC: – What are you going to do to achieve the weight loss, dietary changes and activity/exercise?
Examples of this: If you drink a large glass of wine a night and attempt to go tee-total, you may not be ready for such a big change. Reducing wine consumption to one small glass, 3 nights a week will help you break the drinking habit gradually, while saving yourself hundreds of calories per week. Another example could be to exchange the packet of crisps at 10am each day, for a piece of fruit 3 days per week.
Equally if you’re inactive, then running 12 miles per week is completely out of reach. A realistic option could be to walk for 30 minutes, 3-5 days per week, and build up to walk/jogging a mile, or join an exercise class!
TIMESCALED:-Is the timescale relevant for the goal to be achieved? Too far away, and the chances are you’ll lose interest. Make small goals to begin with which are not too distant and can be re-evaluated and built on when initial success is achieved.
Set yourself some SMART goals for 2017! You’ll have a far greater prospect of adherence and success than resolutions!
Be patient, consistent and dedicated!
Happy New Year!!