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Making Resolutions Stick: Smart Goal Tips

For most of us, with the start of a new year come New Year's Resolutions. Often these resolutions include goals like losing weight, toning up, eating better, or exercising more. But did you know that 90% OF PEOPLE WHO MAKE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FAIL TO KEEP THEM?! Don't let yourself be one of them this year! Help yourself become one of the 10% WHO KEEP THEIR RESOLUTIONS by following my tips below.

Set SMART Goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound. They turn vague goals into a specific action that's realistic for you and that has a measurable outcome. For example:

  • Replace "I want to exercise more" with "I will walk 30 minutes after dinner on at least 5 days per week."

  • Replace "I will eat better" with "I will replace my chips at lunch with raw veggies."

  • Replace "I want to lose weight" with "I will reduce my calorie intake by limiting ice cream to once a week."

  • Replace "I want to tone up" with "I will have 20g of protein every time I eat and I will lift weights 3 days a week."

Turn your goal into an ACTION PLAN. The best way to begin working towards a goal is to create a specific plan for how you will get there. Determine the steps you need to take to reach your goal. This is where I can help you! For example:

  • If you want to eat healthier, start by making sure you have the right groceries (plenty of fruits and vegetables, non-fat dairy, lean protein, nuts, oatmeal, etc).

  • If you want to lose weight, bring lunch and snacks to work instead of relying on the vending machine or office candy bowl.

  • If you want to exercise more, start by joining a gym, investing in a pair of dumbbells to keep at home, or doing home workouts.

  • If you want to tone up, commit to lifting weights at least 3 days per week and making sure you have at least 20g protein every time you eat.

Choose goals that are REALISTIC for you and NOT OVERWHELMING. Break your action plan down into steps and try to take the first step. Start with small changes. Don't set goals that are too lofty - if you aren't able to achieve them, you 'll feel like you have "failed" and will lose the confidence you need to keep going. Choose a small step that is realistic and doable for you. For example:

  • If you want to exercise more but aren't currently exercising or are worried about having enough time, try taking a 15 minute walk during your lunch break or committing to an exercise class once a week.

  • If you want to eat healthier but aren't ready to give up your favorite treats, try reducing your portion sizes of your indulgence foods.

  • If you want to lose weight but have trouble dieting (everyone does), try replacing a starch with vegetables at 1 meal.

  • If you want to tone up but aren't familiar with lifting weights, contact me for personal training! I'll work with you to set up a plan that fits your schedule and comfort zone.

Make a list of the reasons you want to achieve your goal - your motivators. Read this list every morning and every time you have a craving to do something that's not in line with your goal. This list is totally personal to you - it's why you really want to change. It can include things like:

  • have more energy

  • feel better about myself

  • feel more confident

  • be less stressed

  • fit into my clothes

  • sleep better

  • walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath

  • feel more attractive

  • reduce my risk for diseases

  • be in a better mood

  • be happier

Try Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) techniques to choose behaviors that are in line with your goals and motivators. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps you identify what's important to you and choose behaviors that are in line with them, even if they may be a little uncomfortable at first. You accept that, although it may not be the easiest choice, you're committed to your goal because of your motivators. Phrasing that into a sentence will help you take the steps you need. For example:

  • "I accept that burgers, fries, and chips taste good, but I'm committed to losing weight and eating healthier because I want feel better about myself, fit into my clothes, and reduce my risk of diseases. I'll choose a salad with chicken at lunch today ."

  • "I accept that it's easier to come home from work and watch TV, but I'm committed to exercising more because I want to have more energy, sleep better, feel better, be less stressed, and be able to climb a flight of stairs without getting out of breath. I'll bring my gym clothes and a snack to work, and I'll go to the gym after work today.

Accept that mistakes happen. Have contingency plans, and get back on track right away. Perfection is impossible - you're human and life happens. Had a couple cookies when you were out with friends? Totally ok! No need to go binge on a whole box of cookies - get right back on track with your healthy eating plan. Missed a day at the gym? Totally ok! You aren't a failure, just make sure to get to the gym tomorrow. Travelling and won't have access to a gym? No need to give up exercise - try a bodyweight workout!

Have a support system. Get a workout buddy, tell your friends you'd like to choose a restaurant with healthy options, or ask your spouse to help you with grocery shopping.

Make your goal your priority. if you really want it, you'll work for it. Take a look at your schedule and see where you can substitute health-promoting activities for other ones. For example, can you watch a half hour less TV at night (or tape your favorite show) so you have 30 minutes to work out, buy groceries, or prepare meals? Can you spend 30 less minutes on Facebook at home and work out instead?

Want more guidance and help in achieving your goals this year? Contact me and I'll create an action plan for you. I'll be your support system every step of the way - so you're guaranteed to see results!

I hope that these tips are helpful and will bring you closer to your goals in 2017. Cheers to a strong, healthy, and happy year!

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