I have never liked the term New Year’s Resolution because to me it was always too vague and seemed doomed to failure even as they were being written.
Why do I think they are doomed to failure? It is simply because we make the resolutions like we make goals – too general and therefor too hard to measure our success, which often leads us to give them up.
I prefer to use the term New Year’s Plans. What’s the difference? The difference is specificity. A resolution is I want to lose weight. A plan is I will track my food and exercise and plan to lose 20 pounds by June.
It’s been said many times that goals should be SMART ; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. This is what makes the difference between a resolution and a plan.
I’d like to give you a few tips on how to make your New Year’s Resolutions into concrete New Year’s Plans.
- Once you have made specific plans, don’t keep it a secret. Tell everyone. Tell your friends and family, and (if you dare) put it out on social media.It is not that you want to nag you or keep track of you, it is is simply that you are hoping for their encouragement.
- Get Your Friends and Family Involved. Similar to tip one but more than just telling them your plans; recruit their help. If you are planning on going to the gym more, encourage one of them to go with you. If you plan to eat healthier, maybe take a cooking class with someone or share healthy recipes with them.
- Write everything down, and use other media like photos. Write down the plans, but also your progress (with photos if appropriate), how you are feeling, and even your challenges. I suck at writing things down (as you can tell from my sporadic postings) but one of my plans is to not only track my food but also my exercise by keeping a food/exercise journal. When it comes to food, we have a say in TOPS “If you bite it, write it.”
- Actually make a plan. Planning ahead will help you stay on track. Again, going to my plan of continued healthy eating and exercise, I have planned out a schedule of gym attendance. I have booked appointments with myself as it were. Days I am to be at the gym. Even planning what types of exercise to do on what days. I also want to try planning out my meals and especially my snacks (a weak area I must confess)
- Don’t quit. Did you know that generally speaking, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. The main reason people don’t achieve them is they simply give up. People moan “It’s too hard” or “I didn’t know it would be this hard”. Did you know the number one resolution people make is to get more exercise or lose weight. Did you also know that most people quit going to the gym within 6 weeks? Change is always hard. As my kids are fond of saying Suck it up, Princess.
- Keep the list short. Don’t make it too hard on yourself. As I said, change is hard so maybe just make one change at a time.
- Don’t think in absolutes. If you say “I am never having chocolate again” for example, you are setting yourself up for failure. I can almost guarantee you will have a piece of chocolate, and when you do you will go to the “I blew it” mindset. The rest of your plans will soon go by the wayside because you will think you can’t do this.
- Take advantage of mobile technology. There are tons of apps out there that can remind you to do the things on your plan. Set appointments on your calendar for the gym, check out places like the App Store for reminder apps. There is one called Healthy Habits. It is free but limited to tracking 3 habits (like drinking more water etc) but you can upgrade to track more.
- Find substitute activities. Do you watch too much TV and your plan is to watch less? Then plan a different activity. Maybe plan to read more this year. Find books you really want to read or re-read an old favourite.
- Lastly, reward yourself (no food rewards) for “good behaviour”. When you reach a certain milestone or goal, take yourself to a movie, buy a book or DVD, or some other reward that makes you happy.
In keeping with my own advice, I am going to share with you my New Year’s Plans.
- Go to the gym 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday ideally)
- Journal my workouts in a workout diary
- Journal my food in a food diary
- Lose another 20 pounds by my trip in July
- Take my certification course as a Weight Loss Specialist
That’s it. Short and sweet. Now, it doesn’t mean I can’t revise this list or add other things but this is a start.
When I get to July, and hopefully have achieved my 20 pound loss, I can plan my final loss to goal. I still have 35 pounds to my goal, and I want to be there by the end of 2016. By breaking it into chunks, it will be easier and less discouraging. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
I know not all of you are on a weight loss journey, and you have to make your New Year’s Plans your own. Maybe it is learn a new language, or take a night school class, or even change jobs or careers.
Your list and your plans are yours. Don’t think you have to do all the usual things everyone else does.
Don’t think of it as resolutions. Think of it as an action plan.
I have something for you to add to your list. Please share this blog with others. Blogs live and die by their followers and I have a loyal group of followers but a very small group.
I think I have a lot to offer and a lot of people would enjoy it and benefit.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy New Year!