Can you believe the year is nearly over? As we look toward the new year, you may have started thinking about what your new year's resolutions might be.

If you’ve ever struggled to maintain resolutions in the past, I have a simple but smart approach to help you get your new year's resolutions set up for success.

The New Year is a popular time to initiate lifestyle change. Despite our best intentions, oftentimes new year's resolutions are quickly forgotten in a few months. In many cases, they fail because we didn’t think them through when we set them, and they ended up being unrealistic.

Planning a S.M.A.R.T New Year Resolution may increase your chances of success in 2022!

What is a S.M.A.R.T resolution and how might you apply it?

Your resolution should be SPECIFIC

  • If your goal is to eat healthier in the new year, here are two examples of specific resolutions that can help you achieve that overall goal:
    • “This year I will make a switch from white to (whole grain) brown rice”
    • “This year, I will try adding a new-to-me fruit or vegetable to add to my regular routine.”

Find a method to consistently MEASURE your progress

  • Keeping track of your progress on a calendar clipped to your refrigerator is a great way to motivate yourself with a visual reminder of your goals.
  • If you are striving to eat healthier foods moving into the new year, you can keep track of your progress by reviewing your grocery lists. As you make your grocery shopping list, make an effort to include the foods you are striving to incorporate into your routine and conversely, remove those that you are ultimately hoping to cut out.

Your resolution needs to be ACHIEVABLE

  • Focus on making better choices, don’t try to completely reinvent the wheel.
  • Here’s an example of an achievable resolution: If red meat is often the center of your plate, consider replacing it with a fish or lean poultry and moving it to the side, making room for a new vegetable or whole grain in the center.

Similar to ensuring your resolution is achievable, it should also be REALISTIC

  • You might have a particular habit you would like to incorporate into your routine. If making a resolution to adopt that habit outright would not be realistic for you to maintain throughout the year, pick a resolution that will help you work towards that ultimate goal.
  • Here is an example of breaking up a goal into manageable, realistic steps: Setting a goal to meditate every day might not be realistic if you find meditation to be challenging. If getting your daily stress under control is one of your goals, your first step could be to simply make a point of finding a quiet space every day roughly around the same time of day.

Last but not least, set TIME commitments

  • As you plan your resolution, think about your current routine and pick a time when you could practice your new habit.
  • Preparing Overnight Oats takes about 10 minutes…the same amount of time you could otherwise sit in the drive-thru lane the next morning. Pick a specific time in the evening to prepare your breakfast for the next day.

Lasting lifestyle changes aren’t achieved on a whim over a late-night toast.  However, with a bit of forethought and planning, you can kickstart your health goals for the upcoming year.

Start planning your S.M.A.R.T. resolution today toward a healthier 2022!

This article was written by Chuck Blake, former Business Development Zone Director.