If you ask Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., he would say it’s because of “cultural procrastination.” Dr. Pychyl states that when people are simply not ready to change their habits, they procrastinate—leading to a high rate of failure. I talked about this idea in my last blog, Stages of Change. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so. I believe it sets the stage for starting your new-year off right.
Another reason people tend to fail with their resolution is that they don’t set goals properly. How many times have you heard “I want to lose weight this year…exercise more…I am going to stop smoking”? These are all great ideas, but they are poorly set goals. They are vague and not well defined. These “big picture ideas” need to be broken down into smaller, more specific components.
This is where the SMART method helps you set proper, well-defined goals. SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-oriented. By using this method, your goals will be clearly defined—helping you to formulate a plan and eventually achieve your goals.
Specific; What exactly do I want to achieve?
What do you truly want out of this year’s resolution? Do you want to lose weight to be healthier or just be able to fit into that old pair of jeans?
Do you want to exercise more for the cardio benefits, weight loss, or do you want to get stronger by lifting more weights?
Do want to cut back your smoking? Are you truly ready to quit?
If you can’t identify exactly what you want, how will you know if you’ve achieved it? Be as specific as possible in setting your goal(s)—giving yourself an actual target to hit. When a sharpshooter aims at a target, they don’t aim in the general direction. They pick out an exact spot. They focus on it. Do the same with your goal(s).
Measurable; How is success measured?
How will you keep track of your progress and when will you know you have completed it?
What is the exact weight you want to lose—the exact pants size you want?
If you exercise 3 days a week, was that week a success? Or is your goal 4 days a week?
If you have cut down to smoking 5 cigarettes a day by February, are you on pace to meet your goal in March? It is so important for you to be able to measure your progress. If you don’t, the goal becomes less important and risk of failure is high.
Attainable; Am I prepared for this goal? Is it realistic?
Do you have the tools and resources necessary for to achieve success? Do you have a plan of action set in place that starts before Jan. 1st? Or are you going to wait until Jan. 1st?
My profession opinion: start preparing now.
Now ask yourself, “Is my goal attainable? Realistic?” Losing 20lbs in a month is just not a realistic goal. Becoming a bodybuilder in a few short months—not going to happen. Stopping smoking cold turkey is possible, but did it work last time?
Set goals that are challenging but attainable. After you complete this goal, set another goal. You can’t eat an elephant at once, you must eat the elephant one bite at a time!
Relevant; Is this what I really want?
Is the goal you set truly what you want or is it what someone else wants for you? It will take an incredible amount of willpower to achieve your goal, and, unfortunately, willpower can be an exhaustible resource. This is why you need to find motivating factors that are true to you—find your intrinsic motivation. Try and list out some reasons you want or need this change.
Time–oriented; What is the time frame for this goal?
When does your goal end? Is it 30 days or 3 months? Giving your goal a time frame makes it real—giving it tangible dimensions. Try and set reasonable time constraints on your goals. If your goal consumes your life or your time, you will inevitably procrastinate because, “there’s always tomorrow”, right?
I hope you use these tools to outline your 2019 goals. Feel free to set weekly or monthly or weekly goals. Gage your progress and make sure you stay on track. Goals that are challenging and specific usually lead to increased rate of success. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until the new-year to start your new journey to better YOU. Start today.
I encourage you to set aside some time for yourself. Set some goals for yourself, create a plan to achieve those goals, then start your journey to a better, healthier you!
More posts to come in the Time for Change series! Thanks for reading.
If you enjoyed this blog check our Dr. Jordan’s post on Weight loss fadsTags: change, exercise, new years, resolution, weight loss