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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

1/4/2013- Resolutions vs. Goals

I hope the New Year has found everyone happy and healthy!
As we open the next chapter of 365 days, a lot of Americans (including myself) view it as a "fresh start" or a "new beginning"; a chance to do thing differently. Its new year's resolution time!
STATISTIC: 45% of Americans make new years resolutions. Of those, 71% of resolution last 2 weeks, 64% last one month, and 46% last six months University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2012.)

I, for one, wholeheartedly support anyone who wants to make a personal life change for the better. After all, "life is not about FINDING yourself, its about CREATING yourself" -George Bernard Shaw. However, I prefer the word GOAL to RESOLUTION. A resolution is a bigger picture, for example, the classic: lose weight. That is the total outcome. A goal, is a smaller building block towards a resolution, for example, "eat less fast food." To further define the parameters, the goal needs to be SMART. That is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound.

S = SPECIFIC. Goals should be specific rather than broad or vague. Don't just say that your goal is weight loss. Instead resolve to lose 2 pounds per week over the next 3 months.

M = MEASURABLE. How can we know if we've achieved our goals if they are not measurable? A broad goal of losing an unspecific amount of weight in no specific time frame is difficult to measure. But losing 2 pounds per week over the next 3 months is easy to measure. Being able to track your progress builds confidence and may motivate you long after the flurry and excitement of the New Year has subsided.

A = ATTAINABLE. You will probably have trouble attaining goals that are too lofty. Losing 5 pounds per week isn't doable under normal circumstances and will likely result in a feeling of failure and frustration when you can't reach your goal. Losing 2 pounds per week over a 3-month period is attainable for most people who are in good health and can tolerate activity.

R = REALISTIC. Goals must be realistic! A goal of losing 10 pounds by the upcoming weekend so you can fit into a certain outfit is totally unrealistic and will only sabotage your efforts. Again, losing 2 pounds per week over a 3-month period is a realistic goal.

T = TIME BOUND. If you don't use a time frame when setting goals, they may fall by the wayside when the demands of everyday life get in the way. Having a target date to reach your goal will keep you on track and accountable for your actions. An open-ended time frame for meeting a goal allows you to put off your efforts until tomorrow.

So, if your resolution is to "lose weight," set a goal to "only eat fast food once a week."
Whatever your resolution is, go for it. Carpe Diem. Whether today, tomorrow or January 1, 2014, do what you need to do to be who you want to be. After all, "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"-George Bernard Shaw

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