Make goals, not resolutions this New Year

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(Image taken at Bare Feet Power Yoga)

I stopped making resolutions a few years ago because I always found myself making grand sweeping statements that – in retrospect – set me up for failure. If you’re in the same boat, you’ve probably had it with the, “I’m going to lose weight,” or “I’m going to be nicer,” or “I’m going to get in shape,” resolutions. Only eight percent of people keep their resolutions, which is a failing grade last time I checked. More people dress their dogs in cute little outfits than that. I have no statistical evidence to back that up, I really just wanted to share a photo of my dog in boots. You’re welcome.

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Instead of getting mad at yourself and continuing on your New Year’s resolutions path, stop the cycle and start setting goals instead. What’s the difference between a goal and a resolution? A resolution tends to be lofty and ungrounded (I’m going to get out of debt, travel more, lose weight), but a goal is SMART. You may remember SMART goals from a personal trainer, but here’s a recap of what a good goal looks like:

  • It’s Specific – targeting one specific goal (For example: I want to run faster)
  • It’s Measurable – Put a number against that goal (For example: I want to shave one minute off of my 5k time)
  • It’s Attainable – make sure that this goal is something that you can achieve, or you’ll just be back in resolution-land (did you injure your knee? Stop making goals about running!)
  • It’s Relevant – It needs to make sense for your overall goals and your lifestyle.
  • It’s Time-boxed – Give your goal a time range. If you’re working to form a habit like working out more, set a weekly number of workouts that you want to achieve. If you’re working on performance improvement, set an end date by which you want to achieve it. (For example: I want to shave one minute off of my 5k time by June 1)

So which SMART goal should you replace your resolution with? I’ve made a list  for inspiration, but every goal should be personal and specific for you.

  1. I will work out 3 mornings/workweek.
  2. I will run my first marathon by October 12, 2014 by starting a training plan on June 3, 2014 (Try Nike’s training plan)
  3. I will lose 10 lbs by March 15 by following a clean eating plan and exercising 5 days per week.
  4. I will try one new fitness class per week.
  5. I will get more toned by adding strength-training into my workout routine three times per week. (Try the NTC app or any of these classes to work more strength into your routine)

It wouldn’t be a post on if I didn’t lead with Fitness-related goals, but overall happiness is important to your wellness too. Just for fun, here are some happiness-related goals to inspire you:

  1. I will make and keep plans with one friend that I don’t see often once per week (a fitness class, a coffee, a drink, a snack or a lunch all count).
  2. I will join one group or take one class I’m interested in by May (Ex. A book club or a class at the Second City Training Center)
  3. I will call my grandma/mom/aunt/sister once per week
  4. I will observe “date night” and “girls night” once every two weeks.
  5. I will learn something new by June (Baking? The ins-and-outs of football?)

Feeling inspired to set a goal for the New Year? Share yours!

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