If you are like the majority of Canadians, you made a New Year’s Resolution in January. And like the majority, it has probably fallen by the wayside. Most New Year’s Resolutions fail not because of poor intentions, but because there wasn’t a clear plan about how to achieve them. But February offers you another chance. Lets makeover our failed New Year’s Resolutions into Spring Resolutions that will stick.
Make goals that are S.M.A.R.T. Much of my work as a dietitian involves making challenging, yet attainable, goals with my clients.
Specific – What is it about your lifestyle specifically that you want to change? “Getting healthier” or “eating better” are lofty goals indeed, but not specific enough. Is it that you want to be more active? Well then make the goal specific, such as “I will try out one new yoga class this week.”
Measureable – Six months from now, how will you measure whether you’ve attained your goal? Lets say for example your New Year’s Resolution is to broaden your cooking skills, perhaps you decide to “find one new meal to cook each week.” Now, define what steps you must take to get there – enroll in a cooking class, search online for new recipe ideas. Prepare a grocery list and decide on a day to try out the new recipe.
Attainable – Are you both willing and able to sustain the behaviour change? Working out every day at 6 am might be a legitimate way to fit in your exercise, but if by February it still hasn’t happened, you need to find another alternative. Perhaps you can seek out a buddy to hit up the gym or go for a walk with over lunch hour. In fact, surrounding yourself with fit friends is a highly effective strategy to keeping yourself active.
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Timely – When will you start your goal? You have to give yourself a timeframe or you’ll spend the rest of the year thinking about the goal and not ever translating it into action. For example, give yourself until the end of the month to try preparing at least 3 new recipes.
Remember to continually revisit these goals. At the end of a month, evaluate how successful you were. Identify what obstacles stood in your way and how you can overcome them in future. You may want to seek out the support of a healthcare professional, such as a dietitian. Research shows that those who sustain behaviour changes long term do so by monitoring their progress and keeping themselves accountable.
If you are in Kelowna or the greater Okanagan and would like to get more individualized guidance from a dietitian, contact us today!