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How to Make those New Years' Resolutions Come True

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2020

It's that time of year, the holidays are winding down and many are feeling the effects that food, family, fun, and the occasional adult beverage are having on their bodies. As the page turns on 2019, many have the plan to jumpstart the new year with ambitious and lofty lifestyle and fitness goals.

Unfortunately, the "I can't wait for the gym to get back to normal after the new years' crowd dies down" phrase often uttered by consistent gym goers holds some merit. Although many make new year's resolutions, there is a plethora of research that demonstrates a very low percent achieve their goals, some studies noting as low as 8%! So the question is, with the odds stacked against you, how can you break from the norm and achieve your goals as opposed to invariably finding yourself relaxing on the couch instead.

It all starts with being SMART!, and I don't mean having a high IQ, what I mean is utilizing the acronym SMART. When looking into making goals for the new year they should be:

Specific

When setting a goal, be specific about what you want to accomplish. Setting a goal such as "being healthier" is far too general to create a plan of action. Be specific, to give consistency, I will use "I will lose weight" as an example going forward. It is important to be concise and clear with your objective. Adding methods such as "diet and exercise" in this can also help add direction.

Measurable

Aside from choosing your metric, it also means that you need to create a plan. Creating a schedule of measurement is a good way to create accountability. By setting several milestones you will be able to track your progress and adjust to any hurdles. In our example of "I will lose weight" one may set a plan to have multiple milestones to reach on the way to their goal. This will allow to modify the diet and exercise to maintain progress. "I will lose "x" lbs in 3 months, each month I will lose "y" lbs to get there"

Attainable

Quite possibly the most important aspect of any goal is that it is attainable. A goal should not be so lofty that any bump in the road will cause discouragement, however, should not be too easy in which it there is no motivation to achieve it. Do your homework and know the "how" and the "what" that is needed to achieve your goals. Let's look at our goal so far, after doing the research it was found that losing 5% of body weight is attainable. At this point, I will lose 5% of my body weight through diet and exercise with 3 progress checks along the way is a Specific, measurable, and attainable goal.

Relevant

Setting a goal that is attainable is great, however making that attainable goal relevant to your life right now will set you up for success. Prior to setting a goal take a good look at your every facet of your life and make sure that the goal is something of continued importance to you.

Timely

Anyone can set goals, but if it lacks a specific timeframe chances are you will not succeed in reaching these goals. In the example provided thus far this is important in creating the plan. Let's say in this example that 5% is 15 lbs. After consulting with your doctor, it is recommended that 1 lbs. of weight loss per week is healthy. At this point we can conclude that our SMART goal is: "Losing weight is important at this point in my life, in order to lose weight, I will lose 15 lbs in 15 weeks through diet and exercise. In order to monitor progress, weight will be checked every 5 weeks and modifications will be made to ensure I stay on track to lose 15 lbs in 15 weeks."

When it comes to writing SMART goals the best thing to do is exactly that, put it to writing. Ask yourself many questions and do not hesitate to consult your medical doctor to assure that your goals are healthy for you before undergoing a change in diet and exercise. In the case you fall short of your goal, evaluate your process, you may have met the goal of a productive lifestyle change to set you up for future success. From all of us at Connecticut Orthopaedics we wish you success with your 2020 resolutions and hope you have a Happy New Year!


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