Each year, millions of people decide to make a “fresh start” by choosing some behavior to change in the upcoming year. Research surrounding New Year’s Resolution generally suggests that the majority of people give up on their planned changes within a few weeks. However, some studies report that for those who keep their resolutions after a couple of weeks are more likely to make them a lasting lifestyle change.
Those who are successful in making and keeping their resolutions—whether they’re tied to new year or not—tend to have a few things in common. Choosing the right way to make a change is just as important as choosing the right things to change.
It’s worth noting that people who make a decision and actually set a goal are far more likely to make real changes to their behaviors than people who do not set new goals. So, even if you feel like you haven’t been successful in the past at achieving your goals, it’s important to keep making them—but adjust as needed.
There are a few tips that will help as you create New Year’s Resolutions, so that you will set yourself up for better success.
Goals Must Be Specific. We’ve discussed in previous posts about SMART goals, which are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. In summary, this means that success is more attainable if the goals are detailed. “Get in shape” is an ambiguous goal, without a clear definition of determining when you have succeeded. “Schedule walking workouts 3 times a week, so that I can complete a 5k by June” is a goal with a plan, a schedule, a concrete goal, and a time-frame attached. These kinds of goals will be easier to follow, easier to track, and easier to measure.
Pick One Thing. Have you ever tried to “quit smoking, lose 50 pounds, drink more water, eat more vegetables, make a budget, and get a promotion” all at once? It doesn’t work. All of the goals you have may be important and they may all be achievable, but they usually can’t all be done at the same time. Focus on one thing at a time so you can give it your full attention and energy. And if the one thing is too big, break it down into smaller things. If you’re overcommitted and overwhelmed, it will only lead to burnout and you will end up forfeiting all of your goals.
Make a Plan. If you want to make a big lifestyle change, put time and consideration into how you will accomplish this goal. Think about the steps along the way, and how you will approach successes and setbacks. The more planning involved in the execution of your goal, the more likely it will be for you to achieve it—or, even to make modifications along the way.
Keep Moving Forward. We all have setbacks when we set new goals. Starting a new exercise routine? How do you jump back into it if you’re sick and miss a few days? If you want to stop an unhealthy behavior or addiction, how do you cope with relapse? Learning how to handle setbacks and adjust goals appropriately is a huge component of success. Each setback can be an opportunity to renew motivation and learn from your challenges.
New Year’s Resolutions are not a cliché. You can set them, you can achieve them. And there is value to having a “fresh start” at the beginning of a new year. So, ring in 2023 with a new goal and move confidently in your new direction. Ultimate Bariatrics will be in your corner, cheering you on, as you move toward your new goals!