“And suddenly you know… it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
I love the beginning of the year because there’s a special energy in starting a fresh calendar, setting new goals, and leaving the past year behind. Today’s guest post from Stephanie Dunne is about why you should make New Year’s resolutions… even if you don’t keep them! And because she’s a dietitian-extraordinaire, she also shares five suggestions for achieving your nutrition-related resolutions.
Stephanie is a Registered Dietitian (RD) who “sees” clients virtually and in person through her private practice in New York City. She has a Master’s degree in nutrition and is continuing her learning in the area of integrative and functional medicine. Stephanie believes food should be good and good for you, and she hopes to change the world by helping people connect with food in a healing, enriching, and satisfying way.
To guide people toward healthier eating in 2016, Stephanie is offering her online 7 Week Reboot starting on Monday, January 18th. If you want to clean up your diet, reset your body and learn how certain foods impact you, sign up before registration closes on Thursday, January 14th. To learn more and register, visit her website, NutritionQED.com.
Isn’t this a fabulous time of year? Sure, it’s probably cold outside (depending on where you live) and you’re still catching up on sleep after all the end of year celebrations. Still, there’s anticipation in the air about what this year will bring! Maybe last year was tough and you’re hoping for more consistency and stability. Or possibly last year was amazing and you’re excited about continued success.
Wherever you fall on the continuum of this yearly transition, you likely have made (or at least thought about making) one or more New Year’s resolutions. According to some estimates, about half of us commit to making at least one change at the turn of the year, including losing weight, saving more money or falling in love. Despite our good intentions, only 60% of resolution makers will maintain their resolve after the first month and a mere 8% will achieve resolution success.1
If the odds are that our resolve is somewhat temporary and success seems fleeting, should we even bother making resolutions? Unequivocally, yes!
You see, people who explicitly make a resolution are ten times more likely to achieve it than those who don’t.2 But this success isn’t specific to New Year’s resolution. Rather, it’s a manifestation of the success cycle as described by Hall and Foster3:
Goals → Effort → Performance → Psychological success →
Self-esteem → Involvement → Later goals
Assuming you are like most people, one of your resolutions for this year is likely related to food. Losing weight, exercising more and eating more veggies are all goals people make in order to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. Becoming one of the 8% and achieving your nutrition-related resolution is easiest when you follow these five suggestions:
1. Be specific about your resolution.
If you have set goals in the past, you have likely heard of the acronym SMART. In case you are unfamiliar or need a refresher, SMART stands for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
New Year’s resolutions are naturally time-bound as they are goals for this year. But to give you a better chance of success, be sure you make them specific and measurable. For example, rather than saying, “I want to lose weight,” declare, “I will lose 30 pounds this year.” Or instead of saying, “I want to eat healthier,” state, “I will eat 5 servings of vegetables and fruit each day.”
By being specific, you will know how far you have to go at any moment and will be clear about when you have achieved your goal.
2. Set small goals that feed your Big Goal.
Rather than saying you want to lose 30 pounds this year, set a goal to lose 5 pounds by the end of February. Then set the same goal for the end of April. Before you know it, the year will be over and you will have reached your Big Goal. Setting small goals means you will be working your way through the success cycle more frequently, which will feed your self-esteem and encourage you to keep striving for the Big Goal. Plus, the attainment (or lack there-of) of your small goals will help you know if your Big Goal is out of reach.
3. Be willing to adjust your goal.
Campion and Lord found that goal-setting leads to success most often when it is viewed as a dynamic process.4 In other words, set a goal and then adjust the goal or make a whole new goal, as needed, based on feedback or changing circumstances.
Perhaps your goal was to lose 30 pounds this year, but then you start lifting weights and realize that at the same time you are losing fat, you are also gaining muscle. So your adjusted goal might be to lose 20 pounds and to keep lifting weights regularly. This adjustment will keep your specific goal attainable and relevant to your whole life.
4. Seek help, as needed.
Sometimes we know what we want to achieve, but not how to get there. When this happens, seek out a friend, colleague or expert who can help you lay out a plan for success. Read a book or reputable website to get inspiration. (If your resolution is food-related, I hope you’ll check out my blog for ideas on how to achieve your goal.)
Plenty of people are interested in your success and can help you get there, if you are willing to ask for help. Don’t let your lack of know-how stop you from achieving the life you want!
5. Revel in your success… no matter how small it may seem.
The stats say that 92% of people do not achieve their New Year’s resolutions and there could be lots of reasons why. Setting a vague goal that wasn’t quantifiable, or failing to put together a plan to achieve the goal are just two examples. One of the most likely reasons people miss out on resolution success is because they don’t attain a Big Goal that was unrealistic from the start.
To prevent this from happening to you, focus on what you did accomplish and celebrate that. Even if your success was smaller than you hoped or was in an area totally unrelated to your original resolution, rejoice in it! Losing 10 pounds is a huge accomplishment, even if your original goal was to lose 20. Succeeding at your new high-powered job is incredible, even if it meant you didn’t get to the gym as often. By celebrating all of your achievements, you will continue the success cycle by boosting your self-esteem and setting yourself up for involvement in future goals.
Now that you know why making New Year’s resolutions is worthwhile, are you ready to achieve yours? There’s no better time than the present to start working towards the amazing life that you deserve. (If you haven’t made your New Year’s resolutions yet, check out Kaileen’s post for guidance on how to set goals.)
Image via Death to the Stock Photo | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!
- Statistic Brain Research Institute. New Years Resolution Statistics. ↩
- Statistic Brain Research Institute. New Years Resolution Statistics. ↩
- Hall DT, Foster LW. (Abstract) A Psychological Success Cycle and Goal Setting: Goals, Performance, and Attitudes. ↩
- Campion MA, Lord RG. A control systems conceptualization of the goal-setting and changing process. ↩