I remember January 1st, 2012; I had decided I would make some changes for the upcoming year. I wanted to lose 30 pounds, make straight A’s, get 8 hours of sleep, run 5 miles per day, drink 1 gallon of water per day, eat a well-balanced diet, visit 10 medical schools, travel the world, spend time with family more, get a great MCAT score, and the list goes on and on. Needless to say, I didn’t meet a single one of the goals by the end of the year. Why? I had too many broad resolutions without focus.
To help you set and achieve your healthy resolutions for the upcoming year, I have come up with three successful tips that will help you stick to your resolutions.
- Select SMART goals
Making resolutions for the New Year is the easy part, but sticking to those resolutions often times ends in disappointment. This is where SMART goals come into play. SMART goals are detailed and aid in focusing on a goal. The SMART acronym is as follows:
Specific - Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Measurable - How much? How many?
Attainable - Is it realistic? Is it challenging me?
Results-oriented/Relevant - What are the results of the goal?
Timely - What is the timeframe for meeting my goal? An example of a non-SMART goal is I will lose 30 lbs. This goal isn’t specific, and looked a lot like the goal I had written in 2012.
An example of a SMART goal is I will lose 30 lbs. by August 30th by eating a well-balanced meal and running 4 miles per day. This SMART goal is very specific in measuring timely and attainable results. When drafting your SMART goal resolutions, remember to be personal. This tool is designed to help you come up with a clear path in reaching your individual goals.
- Write it down
Research shows that when you write your goals down, you are more likely to be successful in achieving those goals. Invest in a planner and/or a journal to help you see your goals on paper. You can also create a vision board containing your goals, pictures, and progress, and hang it in your bedroom. Writing down your goals will help keep you accountable.
- Reward yourself
Rewarding yourself for small victories can help you stay on track; however, when rewarding yourself, its very important to stay on track with your goal. For example, if your goal were to lose weight, eating a whole pizza as a reward wouldn’t be ideal. Treat yourself to a movie, a pedicure, or free live concert in your area. Celebrate the small victories and milestones by making healthy decisions.
As you come up with your healthy resolutions for the upcoming year, remember that these goals are self-improvement lifestyle changes for a better you. As you tackle your goals (because I’m confident you will) don’t focus on how far you have to go, but on how far you’ve come. Have a wonderful 2015!
References: New year, healthier you [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20452233,00.html
Kelsi Walker is a graduate student at Texas Woman’s University and is currently pursuing a MS in Health Studies with an emphasis on population health. In 2012, she received a dual-degree in Medical Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies from the University of Oklahoma. Her interests are in minority disparities from preventable diseases. Kelsi’s ultimate goal is to matriculate into medical school in the near future.
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