So, how are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? With just over 6 weeks into this new year, you may be reflecting on those well-intentioned promises you made to yourself and others regarding areas in your life you wanted to change or improve. Like most of us, you may be struggling with a bit of guilt in feeling as though you’re coming up short. Sometimes guilt can actually result in much needed change, however more often than not, actions born out of guilt rarely produce sustainable positive results. Rather than resolutions, may I suggest you begin incorporating tangible goals into your life to make positive and lasting change. Unlike New Year’s resolutions, the formation of useful goals can be implemented at any time throughout the year.
A few well-crafted goals combined with tangible action on your part has the capacity to influence positive change for 2019. You must however start with SMART goals! If each of the components below are incorporated into your written goals for 2019, I guarantee you the opportunity to successfully achieve your goals will be greatly enhanced! Remember your goals must be SMART!
At this point whether you are listening to the podcast or reading the text, may I suggest that you stop and take this opportunity to re-visit just a few of the resolutions you made in early January and re-write them using the SMART format.
Now, let’s take a look at a common New Year’s resolution which can be easily put into a SMART goal format…Weight Loss!
What do Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s share in common? The seemingly unavoidable and progressive increase in the consumption of empty calories which ultimately results in increased body fat and weight gain after 2 months of indulgence! Have you ever noticed how clever the timing is for weight loss commercials, whether they are marketing the newest fad diet or latest and greatest piece of exercise equipment? The basic message is always the same: If you buy this machine or purchase this new diet approach or supplement, you will no doubt end up looking just like the beautiful bodied people you see on the television screen. So what do we do in this weakened and vulnerable state after having made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, we make the purchase for only $9.99 a month for 999 months believing that we indeed will inevitably end up looking like these Greek gods and goddesses we see on our flat screens! Don’t get me wrong, in over 30 years of practice as a physical therapist I am convinced there are some excellent pieces of exercise equipment that can be very useful in a wholistic approach to improving our health and wellness. I am also convinced that we are often times very deficient in our nutritional habits and there is no doubt that appropriate dieting strategies as well as some supplements can be of great help in achieving our weight loss and wellness goals. The real issue, however, is that of discipline.
May I suggest that if you have not already done so, purchase a high-quality pair of walking shoes and commit to a regular daily walking program which is by far the most sustainable form of exercise over the lifespan. Unlike the expensive exercise equipment (which often times can be purchased at a substantial reduction in the spring and summer at garage or yard sales), the money spent on your shoes combined with a well disciplined walking schedule will definitely produce tangible improvements in your overall health! There’s so much more to discuss on this topic but let’s get back to transforming our resolutions into functional goals. Since weight-loss is a very common concern for many of us, let’s explore the often articulated resolution of ”Losing Weight” through the filter of a SMART goal.
In 2019, I will commit to improving my health and wellness by decreasing my overall body fat and increasing my lean muscle mass through regular exercise and improving my diet (Specific) resulting in a reduction in my body weight of 30 pounds. (Measurable). Measured bodyweight will confirm a reduction at a minimum of 1-2 pounds per week. (Attainable) Overall loss of body fat will enable me to comfortably fit into previously worn clothes and provide the opportunity to purchase a new wardrobe. (Relevant & Rewarding) My overall weight loss goal of 30 pounds will be achieved within 6 to 9 months and will be maintained thereafter. (Time-bound)
Although the above goal certainly requires more work to establish then simply “Losing Weight”, adherence to this specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal has a much greater chance of succeeding!
I encourage you now to apply these principles to the formulation of other relational, financial, or educational goals you desire to achieve this year.
Redeem the time!
Enjoy. Enrich. Engage.