The number of people who ditch their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January is 1 in 3: Top reasons include being too busy or not being committed to their goals in the first place. Setting goals for the New Year is a great way to focus on the changes you would like to make. About 45% of people make New Year’s resolutions but only 8% of those are successful at keeping them. Changing the way you set your goals can place you towards the path to success. The best way to set goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T method. You can be part of that 8% by setting realistic goals – here’s how!
Specific: The more specific you are, the better. Simply saying “I want a lower A1c” or “I want to lose weight” are not goals – they are general statements . However, saying that “I want to lower my A1c by 1% in the next 3 months” or “I want to lose five pounds by March 2016” are goals that are specific.
Measureable: If you want to “improve your health” that’s great – but you can’t measure health directly. How can you make sure that all your hard work is actually working? You know your health is improving if you are seeing your blood sugar reaching target levels, or if you are consistently exercising three times a week. Make your goals around a specific behaviour that you can measure.
Achievable: To achieve means that you have reached your goal. Don’t set a goal that is going to be too hard to reach. An unachievable goal may be to “exercise for two hours every day”, but a more achievable goal may be to “walk three days a week for 30 minutes”.
Realistic: The goals you set need to be realistic. Saying “I will never eat sugar again” is not a realistic goal. A realistic goal would be “I want to limit my sugar to one teaspoon in my coffee once a day”.
Time-Related: Having a time frame attached to your goals is important. If you want to lose 15 pounds this year set your goal for when you would like to make that happen. Saying “I want to lose 15 pounds by August 2016” can help you stay on course so you can make adjustments along the way. Not having enough time is something we all struggle with, so attaching a time frame to your goal will help you prioritize them.
Tips on Getting Started:
1. Start with a small goal and build on it. You should be looking at your goals weekly or on a regular basis to see if you are meeting them. If not, then re-work your goal so that you are!
2. Start with 1-3 goals. You can always build on them or create new ones when they are met.
3. Write your goals down and share with a supportive friend, health coach, or family member if you would like them to help keep you on track.
All the best in making 2016 your best year yet!