It’s been a week since New Year’s Day. By now some people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. Part of that is because people don’t know how to make attainable goals. Now is the time to revise your resolutions and really commit to being healthier. Check that your New Year’s goals have all five of these qualities.
A good goal is specific. Specific goals are more reliable and effective at motivating than vague goals. (1) If you can vividly imagine your goal then it’s more real to you and you’re more likely to fight for it. Many coaches personalize their goals because it works. A goal you haven’t specified is an easier goal to forget.
It’s easier to get to the gym once a week when you know exactly how long you plan on being there, what day and time you plan on going, etc. For example: My New Year’s resolution is to go to the gym and work out for an hour, Monday through Friday, right after work.
If you need help making your old new year’s goal more specific try asking yourself these basic questions: Where do I need to go to meet this goal? How often can I work on this goal? What supplies might I need? How long can I devote to this goal? Who might want to work towards this goal with me? etc.
A good goal is measurable. If you can measure your goal, then you can objectively determine how successful you are at meeting that goal and adjust your effort level accordingly. I think we all have been guilty at some point of lowering the standard to fit our lifestyle rather than rising to the occasion.
If you have a goal to lose a certain number of pounds that’s great. It’s specific and measurable, but it isn’t for everyone. There are more ways of measuring progress than numbers on a scale.
A dress or a pair of jeans can be great measuring stick. If you gain more muscle than you lose fat you could go down a clothing size or two but a scale will say that you gained weight since muscle is more dense than fat (2).
You can also use time as a measure. Make a goal for how many minutes you will do something.
Or you can use a tally system. Give yourself a point for every time you take time to meditate, then make a goal to accumulate five points a week.
A good goal is trackable. There should be data to analyze and progress to be seen. If your goal is to eat less fast food this year than last year. You’ll need to calculate how many times you ate fast food last year and consistently check that you are in fact doing that less.
It might seem silly, but tracking your progress will help keep you encouraged while you try to reach your goals.
A good goal is realistic. It’s wonderful to dream big. Dream as big as you can. If you want to get down to a size 6 or lose 100 pounds go for it. But realize big goals are made of medium goals which are made of small goals. So you may need to break your big goal down into smaller parts.
Sometimes it isn’t reasonable to get our big goals done in a year. It’s important to consider the real life implications of our goals; you only have a certain number of hours in a day if you are adding new demands on your time you will have to give up something else you are doing. With any goal you need to plan for how you are going to accomplish it.
Don’t feel bad for only accomplishing one of your small goals. Focus on the fact that you made progress toward your big goal.
A good healthy living goal is maintainable. Not all the goals you made on New Year’s are maintainable but when it comes to being healthy it requires devotion. It isn’t a one and done deal. You have to keep working towards being healthy forever.
So once you’ve decided on your goal it’s best to keep in mind that you also want to maintain your goal. This will help keep you from trying to do something stupid like losing weight by starving yourself or trying to spend 3 hours at the gym every day for a month.
There are lots of things you can do if you are determined to achieve your New Year’s resolutions but these five edits will make achieving them much, much more likely. As long as you’re healthy living goals are specific, measurable,trackable, realistic, and maintainable you’ll do fine this year.