Its easy to get caught up in the New Year’s Resolution hype. You’ve probably spent a good deal of time reflecting on your past year’s choices, both the successes and misses. Maybe you have a few things you want to change or improve upon. You might feel nostalgic and “dreamy” as you enter a new year, but its just as easy to lose focus on day-to-day reality. Should you set goals for yourself? Absolutely, you should no matter the time of year! Should your goals be realistic and obtainable? Yes. Before you join in the hype, let’s talk about healthy goal setting and the common resolution mistakes that can ultimately prevent you from reaching your goals.
You aren’t specific enough
It’s great to want to lose weight for your health or try to eat more vegetables every day. In reality, how does that look? Do you want to lose five pounds, or ten? How are you going to incorporate new foods into your diet? The first way to set yourself up for goal success is to stick to S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive. An example of a smart goal is:
By February 1st, I will have included 1 new serving of a vegetable with my dinner every night.
Write down a few of your goals on paper and crate a S.M.A.R.T. goal to pair with it. This will help you make the necessary adjustments to finding your perfect plan.
Your goals don’t promote your individualism
All of us are unique, right? Then why should our goals all be the same? What works for somebody else might not work for you. Maybe your friend has the resources to spend an hour every morning at the gym before work, but you have two toddlers running around the house without the luck of a sitter. Instead of comparing yourself to somebody else’s situation, make your goal perfectly unique for you. Lead a 30 minute walk each day after lunch with a stroller or grab a jump rope and dedicate yourself to playing along after dinner with your little ones. Comparison never made achieving a goal easier and certainly has never made anybody healthier.
You are a little too enthusiastic
Don’t get me wrong, enthusiasm is great. Enthusiasm is what inspires us, drives us, and makes us better people. Enthusiasm is best utilized when it is perfectly directed. Enthusiasm without realistic goals and a clear path can easily lead to burn out. We have all seen somebody set a lofty goal and give it everything they have…for a week until they decide to quit. Can you really spend two extra hours everyday perfecting your yoga technique? If you can, great! If you aren’t sure you can spare the extra time consistently, you might want to re-define your goals using the S.M.A.R.T goal criteria, with an extra emphasis on the “realistic” part. Do what you know you can achieve in a consistent manner rather than large and dramatic changes. Small changes lead to big results.
You don’t have any type of accountability
Accountability doesn’t have to be a weekly focus group. It may be just as simple as exposure to a source of inspiration or chatting about your goals with a friend. If your goal is to improve your gut health over 2020, you might find a good deal of inspiration from an online forum where you can share your thoughts with other people with same interest. You might sign up for weekly emails from a health professional who offers tips to improve your gut health. Or, you could even schedule quarterly appointments with your doctor to check in on symptoms in a more consistent manner than before.
You forget to enjoy the process
If you look at progressing towards a goal as a dreadful task, it’s going to be just that. If you are setting a goal for yourself it’s easy to assume you want to improve your quality of life in some way. So, enjoy the process! You can’t enjoy your outcome unless you learn to embrace the steps towards your journey. As with any great thing in life, a little pain and growth are required to change a habit or implement a new idea. Don’t forgot to find encouragement along the way.