Let’s Get SMART about New Year’s Resolutions

It’s hard to imagine we are nearing the time to say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016. We are to the point of the year where we are thinking about the possibilities the new year holds. Whether you watch the clock strike twelve from the comfort of your home, or you are out in the streets with your new friends, the new year ushers in, quite literally, a new beginning and those pesky resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions, for most, are never decided upon until the 11th hour of New Year’s Eve. We decide this is the year I’m going to lose weight, or call my family more, or save, or whatever. (You fill in the blank.) But waiting until the last minute to make a resolution on how you are going to manage your life for the upcoming year does not always work out like we hope. How about instead of feeling guilty all year, we band together and work through our resolutions together.

The key to making it from January 1 to December 31 is to be SMART about your resolution, and we don’t mean in the topic of your resolution. We mean:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Time Framed

Motivating resolutions or goals can be difficult to set and keep, but with these five steps guiding the development of your resolutions it will be easier to keep them.

When you sit down to make your list of goals for 2016, start with a list of many and then focus on just one that you think will have the greatest impact. Then work through making that goal specific by having the goal answer the six “W” Questions (Who, What, Where, When, Which, and Why). After setting the specifics, determine a concrete criteria for measuring the goal. Make sure the goal is attainable and realistic. The worst thing you can do is set a far reaching goal, and then not be able to reach it. Try breaking the goal up in to manageable pieces. Lastly, set a time frame when you want to accomplish the goal, but keeping in mind it needs to be realistic. Let’s take a resolution to lose weight as an example.  For instance, a quick resolution is to tell yourself you want to lose 100 pounds in 2016. This resolution is so vague that you can’t begin to consider how to achieve it.  But a more manageable goal is losing eight pounds a month or approximately two pounds a week. That seems much easier to accomplish, doesn’t it?

It is also helpful to think about how you will achieve the goal. You can use these tools to determine your healthy weight, how much physical activity you need, and what food and beverage substitutions you can make to help you establish healthier habits.

We are wishing you a happy 2016, and wish you the best of luck with your resolutions. As always, check out Calorie Control Council’s blog for great tips and recipes to help you through your new year.

faq2Do you have questions about low-calorie sweeteners? Want to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You asked and we listened. Our resident Registered Dietitians answered the most popular questions about low-calorie sweeteners.