Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick : Slow, steady and SMART wins the Race
Written by Dr. Lisa Adams, ND
It is still early in the new year so we are all hearing a lot about making, as well as betting on who will keep their New Year’s resolutions. Health related commitments are popular: We all want to feel our best, inside and out, so let’s explore what it takes to create, implement, and stick to a New Year’s Resolution!
- First, breakdown your resolution with the SMART goals method: you may have used this at work, but it is just as useful for personal and health goals! Let’s use the example of someone wanting to be more active in the New year. The goal should fit into the following:
- Specific: Be exact with how you want to be more active. Deciding to walk outside from home, for example. Also how often will you do this? Two to three times per week could be a good starting place.
- Measurable: decide on a length of time to walk for, or number of steps per day. Fifteen minutes could be a good first goal.
- Achievable: Decide how confident you are you can achieve this goal. If you are 70% or more confident this is achievable right now for you, then this is a good starting point.
- Realistic: Is walking realistic for you? Someone could have joint pain that would interfere with this commitment, or know they wont walk outside in the winter would also render this goal unrealistic for them. We just have to be honest with ourselves from the get-go!
- Timely: What time will you fit this into your schedule? For some mornings work best, others know they wont get up any earlier so they will choose a time later in the day or after work. Again, be realistic with what will work for you!
The truth is that a little goes a long way: Research shows that committing to small, simple, and sustainable health changes over time are what lead us to achieve and maintain our health goals and create a vibrant lifestyle that lasts.3
This is just like the old proverb of “slow and stead wins the race.” We all know or have experienced ourselves the rush at the gym in the new year- you can’t find a spot or machine, then suddenly end of January you wonder “where did everybody go?” These people likely didn’t make SMART goals or understand the importance of small and consistent steps in achieving our goals.
Bottom Line: Take the time to decide on your New Years Resolution or next goal for yourself. Use the Smart goal breakdown to create a simple and sustainable change in your lifestyle for healthy habits that last all year long!
Remember that something done consistently, even it it seems really small or inconsequential, has a BIG impact! Just like putting aside a small amount of money each month will have a great effect longterm on your financial health, small changes that support your health goals will add up to big wins for you!
If you need more support creating, implementing, or sticking to your healthy habits OR achieving the results you’d like, consider booking a consultation with your Naturopathic Doctor for more guidance.
- Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit formation’ and general practice. Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Dec; 62(605): 664-666. Gardner B, Lally P, Wardle J. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/