Wow, another New Year is just around the corner. Thanksgiving, the second most calorie consuming day for most, is now behind us and Christmas is front and center. On deck, right behind Christmas, are New Year’s Day and the launch of your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions. This is a topic I like to write about every year at this time. The making of New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition that almost everyone performs because we all want to change something or do something better. Have you already decided what you want to change or accomplish for your life in 2018? There are so many resolutions made and unfortunately, so many fail to be kept or met. We all have reasons or excuses for not keeping our resolution(s) and some are valid, but as the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
The number one most common resolution made is to get healthy and fit. This is followed closely by losing weight, eating better, spending more time with family and making better financial decisions. So, why is it that folks will start out on fire to accomplish their resolution(s) and then one to two months in, they run out of gas and just stop? Like I mentioned above, without having a plan in place for maintaining your enthusiasm, motivation, accountability or progress, you are planning to fail. I always share with my clients that they have to have a plan, not just for the start of the New Year, but for the whole year. You know yourself better than anyone else, right? So, when you set your goal, make sure it is a goal that you truly want to accomplish and then layout your plan to succeed. If you have failed in the past, learn from it, the “past does not equal your future.” I am going to once again give you the formula for success in accomplishing your goals and laying out the “plan”. Today, not tomorrow or next week or December 31st, make your resolution and run it against the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting principle. The acronym’s letters have several different variations, but I am using the following: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewards based and Time bound. The easiest resolution from above to run through this principle is the losing weight goal. So, if your big 2018 resolution is to lose some lbs., let’s see how that goal follows the S.M.A.R.T. principles.
Bob, I want to lose 20+ pounds in 2018 so that I feel better and can do more with my family this summer. You tell me that you want to surprise the family and book the summer beach vacation and that you want to be able to enjoy your time on the sand and in the surf. I love a goal with purpose, not just losing 20 pounds, but being able to engage more in family activities on this summer vacation. Let’s put that into New Year’s Resolution lingo, I will lose 20+ pounds by June 21st and when I do I am going to book the family vacation early to include lots of outdoor activities. Sounds great, but does it pass the S.M.A.R.T. test.
1. Specific? Yes this goal is specific as it clearly states that your goal is not to just lose some weight, but to lose 20+ pounds.
2. Measurable? If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. So, in this case, yes as your progress can be measured and tracked via the weight scales where you will get instant feedback on your progress. Also lots of comments from friends and family noticing the change in you physically and emotionally as you start feeling better.
3. Attainable? It is very possible and safe to drop a pound a week. Creating a daily to weekly calorie deficit by safely reducing calories consumed partnered with an increase in calories burned through activity and exercise will help you achieve this goal. So, another yes to the S.M.A.R.T. principle.
4. Rewards based? Yes, by planning to take that vacation, you are setting your eyes on the reward for your hard work. Pull samples of all of the activities you want to plan for the family on this vacation. Maybe surfing lessons, paddle boarding, parasailing, or just throwing a Frisbee on the beach. Put these pictures where you can see them and allow them to help you maintain enthusiasm and motivation and reminders of the awesome summer vacation coming.
5. Time bound? Targeting the Summer Solstice, June 21, you have set the timeline for your goal. Starting now instead of January 1st, puts you even further ahead of 20 pounds by June 21st. January 1st start would be just over 24 weeks for you to achieve this goal, and 1 pound a week to drop the 20, another yes to your resolution goal being smart. A December 1st start puts you at almost 30 weeks to drop 1 pound a week ☺
You can take any resolution you are thinking of setting and run it through the S.M.A.R.T. test. If you can get a yes for each principle, you have a greater chance of succeeding, but you must adhere to your plan.
If you need some help with an exercise or weight loss goal, seek the guidance of a Certified Fitness Professional to assist you in creating a safe plan. Strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, nutrition coaching and recovery strategies are all required for you to succeed. All of the professionals at Poston’s Fitness for Life are experienced in helping clients achieve their goals. Give us a call and let us help you make 2018 the year you meet YOUR New Year’s Resolution S.M.A.R.T. goal(s). As we wind down 2017 and look forward to 2018, I wish you success with your goals and amazing health and fitness. Bob