The new year isn’t the only time to set goals, but it is a great opportunity to reset with new plans for how you will improve your health in the coming year. Taking time to set intentional goals is often the difference between giving up on your plans a month later and actually achieving the goals you have set for yourself.
SET GOALS NOT RESOLUTIONS
Most people start the year by setting a few New Year’s resolutions. A majority of those resolutions are geared towards health and wellness, but it is estimated that only about 10% of individuals succeed in sticking to those resolutions throughout the year. Such a low success rate means that most resolutions you make are setting you up for failure from the get-go.
Rather than making resolutions to keep, you should set yourself up for success by creating solid goals you can actually achieve. This happens by turning vague resolutions into measurable goals.
LET GO OF PERPETUAL GOALS
Perpetual goals are those that come to mind when you think of typical health-related desires: get a six-pack, lose 10 pounds, lift heavier, or run faster. These goals are great if achieving them will leave you feeling fulfilled, but you often reach a perpetual goal only to realize the finish line just keeps moving. Rather than taking time to reflect on your success, you feel unsatisfied and want more: to look even leaner, lose another 5 pounds, or run even faster.
Great goals are not about doing more, but doing what will leave you feeling accomplished. If you don’t feel fulfilled by reaching your goal (or enjoy the process of getting there), then what’s the point?
Different goals require different levels of adherence necessary in order to achieve them. While everyone wants to be leaner and stronger and faster, you may not always be willing or able to do what it takes to get there. Expecting yourselves to be completely adherent all of the time is unrealistic and only sets you up for failure and frustration.
There is a spectrum of commitment required for different goals, so make sure you are able to give the attention required to the specific goals you make. There is nothing wrong with setting lofty goals; just be sure you are willing to put in the work before committing to them.
Your goals should be specific and structured so you are setting yourself up for success from the beginning. Rather than vague ideas that are hard to stick to, creating realistic goals will lead to permanent long-term resolutions so you can end this coming year feeling fulfilled rather than frustrated.
Kate Lyman, MPH, CHES is a nutrition coach who believes in ditching restrictive diet rules and building flexible eating habits so that you can eat the foods you enjoy while still working towards your aesthetic, performance, and health-related goals. She provides individual and corporate nutrition coaching and creates resources that can help anyone improve their diet. Find her cookbooks, nutrition guides, and other resources at katelymannutrition.com or on follow along at @klnutrition.49