How to keep and follow your New Year’s resolutions
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Many of us create goals every year—resolutions to improve our lives and ourselves. These resolutions come in many different variations; they may be related to our schooling or jobs, focus on self-growth and/or acceptance, or be delegated towards a specific task. A common problem with making these goals is simply that they’re difficult to keep track of and follow through on. A few weeks into 2016, and our resolutions are forgotten and abandoned. There’s no self-improvement, and we go through the year letting ourselves down by not accomplishing the goals we envisioned.
Ultimately, the power to make and keep goals comes from within us. By successful planning, evaluation, and execution, it is possible to meet or even exceed our own expectations about what we wanted. It’s all about keeping perspective and realizing our exact intentions.
The S.M.A.R.T. model is a popular method when it comes to accomplishing goals, and it’s taught everywhere from elementary schools to corporate offices. It involves five aspects of setting a goal: it must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. One of the most common reasons a resolution isn’t kept is that it isn’t planned out properly enough—it’s important to figure out exactly what is desired from each component.
A popular New Year’s resolution is to exercise more. “To exercise more” is not a viable goal in itself, and there’s no real reason to keep it. If your goal is to exercise more, use the S.M.A.R.T. criteria to break the resolution down further.
Specific: Does “exercising more” mean going to the gym three times a week? Going for jogs twice a week? Signing up for a class at the gym or at school?
Measurable: How will you know when you’re exercising more? Are you keeping track of what days you exercise now and when you will in the future? What results are you hoping to notice (weight loss, a larger bicep, a general feeling of being healthier?)
Achievable: What factors limit you from exercising? Does school and/or your job take up all your time? Do you have regular access to a gym and proper shoes and clothes to exercise in? Consider what is needed to achieve your goal, and make sure you’re able to actually go through with it. It may sound silly, but many goals fail because it’s impossible to achieve them under a person’s circumstances.
Realistic: What do you want from exercising more? You may not be able to lose 20 pounds in a month, or suddenly bench press 50 pounds extra.
Time-based: A goal does not go from not starting to being completely finished. Realizing how long it will take, and what steps can be taken along the way, will really help towards getting them done. If your desire is to go to the gym regularly, consider setting up a goal like “By the end of January, I will have a gym membership and have gone twice.” Goal time can be adjusted at any point, but having a specific timeline is essential for letting them not drift off.