Be SMART about your resolutions
It’s no surprise that with the New Year comes the tradition of setting #resolutions. It gives us the “get out of jail free” card we all like to use during the holiday season. We’ve all done it. That internal dialogue that says, “I’m going to eat this, drink that, and sleep until then because come January 1st it’s all over. I’m going to get back on track. No more sweets, no more booze, more exercise, and less stress.” We all have the best intentions when the year begins, but how many of us even remember last year’s resolutions? How many of us accomplished what we set out to do last January and are building upon it this year?
One of the 10 key components of #Resilence is realistic optimism. We've all been told to be optimistic but not many are told to be realistic at the same time. Being overly optimistic without discerning the reality of your present states and abilities ultimately does more harm than good.
Give yourself a better start, and reap the benefits all year long by setting SMART resolutions.
1. Be Specific: Don’t say, “I want to lose weight.” Instead say, “I want to lose weight by exercising three days a week for an hour and eliminate caffeine and sugar from my diet.” After you've done that you should ask yourself why? Understanding the root of your desire makes it much more powerful. Sticking with the example above ask yourself, "why do I want to lose weight?" Because I have a college reunion I'm going to this year and I've put on 30 lbs. Why do you want to lose weight before the reunion? Because I was an athlete in college and that's how people remember me. Why do you want them to remember you like that? Because I was in the best shape of my life then and I want to feel like an athlete again. Boom. . . there it is.
2. Make it Measurable: Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I want to lose 5 lbs. by practicing #yoga two days a week and #HIIT classes two days a week for an hour.” Don't just say, "I'm going to start eating healthy." Say, "I'm going to eliminate processed sugar, white flour and dairy from my diet for three months." The mind pursues pleasure
3. Make it Achievable but not too easy: If you've never been able to lose 20 lbs. in two months then don't make that your resolution. Reflect back on what you truly think is achievable and then stretch it a little further to challenge yourself. You might then say you will lose 7 lbs. a month for two months. This will stretch your goal and make it even more measurable!
4. Be Realistic: If you work 80 hours a week, have three kids, and a long commute is it realistic for you to exercise for an hour, four days a week? Maybe, but realistic optimism is the best option. You may need to be more disciplined with your mornings and get up 30 minutes earlier to workout before you go to work. Or maybe you can work out for 30 minutes on your lunch break at a local gym.
5. Give yourself a Timeline: Make sure your resolution has a deadline. Sub out long deadlines for short term ones. This will help you track your progress and recognize setbacks. Look back to number 3. Instead of 20 lbs. in two months set the goal of 7 lbs a month. Instead of saying I will give up processed sugar, white flour, and dairy . . with no timeline, you tell yourself you will do it for three months and see how you feel.
Once you have built out your Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed resolutions, take a moment and review them. Ask yourself are these inspirational to me? Do they have significant meaning? If not, go back and revise. In the words of the 15th-century mystic Kabir, "It is the intensity of the longing that will do the work."
Happy New Year