Do something different this New Year


If you’re going to set New Year’s resolutions, set resolutions you can keep! It’s not really that hard. We get into trouble when we see too far into the future (imagining our final results), instead of realizing that getting there consists of smaller steps that we must take each day.

Set a goal that means something to you. Think about what change or changes you’d like to make to improve the quality of your life. Once you have something in mind, you can set yourself up to succeed by setting a SMART goal. In this case, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Timely.

Goals that meet the SMART criteria are easier to meet. Here’s why.

Some of the most popular goals for New Year’s resolutions are related to health improvement. They may include losing weight, exercising more or quitting smoking. To be specific, you would want to define your goal as losing 10 pounds, exercising three times a week for 30 minutes, or signing up for a smoking cessation program.

If your goal is to spend more time with family and friends, you’ll still want to find a way to measure it. Maybe you’d schedule two times a week as your time to socialize. If your goal is to get more sleep, you could start by keeping track of when you go to bed for a week, then gradually go to bed 15 minutes earlier the second week, and a half hour earlier the third week.

Some people prefer to be accountable only to themselves, so tracking their progress in their phone, daytimer or online would work well for them. Others like to have a buddy system. Having a friend who is also working on keeping a resolution is a good way to compare notes and support each other.  

If your goal is to get out of debt in 2017, but your debts exceed your income, you are not likely to succeed. A realistic goal may be to keep track of all the money you spend, reduce where you can, and decrease your debt by 20 percent. That’s still meaningful progress that will give you a sense of control over your spending.

Be sure to build in a timeframe for staying on track to meet your goal. If your goal is to change jobs, decide when you’ll have updated your resume, when to attend networking events and how many employers you will have contacted by what date.

In summary, having goals can be a powerful incentive to inspire us to create and shape the lives we live.

If you want to be healthier in 2017, we can help. Goshen Health offers resources for weight loss, nutrition, tobacco cessation and disease management. Setting SMART goals is starting the process. Getting the support you need – from your primary care physician and from Goshen Health – can get you to a different place when 2017 ends and you’re setting new goals for 2018.