A Forbes Healthy survey of 1,000 adults conducted in October 2023 found that the average New Year’s resolution lasts 3.74 months. Other statistics show that 23% of people quit their resolutions by the end of the first week and 43% quit by the end of January. Either way you look at it a new year’s resolution doesn’t last nearly as long as it should to impact health for the long run. While you are on your health journey it’s important to embrace your body and yourself for where you are. Still love on yourself. Try not to get swept into the expectations of setting unrealistic new year’s resolutions. Instead shift your focus to working on realistic goals that you can maintain for the long haul. Because that’s what really matters!
So now you might be wondering how do I even go about setting a realistic goal? Is that goal that you are thinking about currently realistic? Let’s talk about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and I’ll give you a few examples.
New Year, Same You: Start the New Year with Self Love & Attainable Goals
Make your goals S.M.A.R.T!
You may have already heard about “SMART” goals within your work setting or in school. Setting smart goals can also be used in nutrition! What does a “SMART” goal stand for?
- S = specific
- M = measurable
- A = achievable
- R = realistic
- T = timed
So what’s not an example of a smart goal? “I want to be healthier”.
While this is a great goal to have, it doesn’t specify what you want to do to be healthier. It isn’t a measurable goal and there is no time frame attached to it. Meaning what’s a realistic amount of time attached to achieve the goal.
If we made this into a smart goal it could look like: “I want to increase the vegetables I eat by adding in 1 more cup 4-5 days out of the week”. Now you have a specific goal that you can measure. It’s realistic to you without putting pressure on yourself to do this 7 days a week. And now we have a time frame attached to the goal. Other examples of smart goals could be:
- “I will go outside for a walk 15 minutes, 3 days a week”
- “I will add a serving of fruit to breakfast 5 days a week”
- “I will not work during my lunch break and allow myself time to enjoy my meal and break”
Build healthy habits over time
So instead of making yourself go crazy with unrealistic expectations instead, try adding in 1 or 2 of these habits and build on them over time.
Set aside time for self-care. I think we know now more than ever the importance of taking time for yourself. Self care means taking time to do the things that improve your physical and mental wellbeing. Practicing self care helps to lower stress, risk of illness and improves energy. Maybe the next time you want to set aside a little time for yourself, consider making this DIY avocado face mask and relax.
Increase joyful movement. Joyful movement can help repair your relationship with exercise. It’s an intuitive way to approach physical activity that emphasizes pleasure, choice and celebration.
Eat more fruits, vegetables and legumes. This is not something that has to be done all at once. It’s best to take it one step at a time and work on it meal by meal, snack by snack. You can start wherever you’d like. Whether that’s starting to add fruit as a snack daily. Or adding a side salad to lunch or dinner. It could mean cooking beans once a week to use in a recipe. Do what works for you!
Looking to eat more plants? Try any of these recipes!
- Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf
- Spicy Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Cheesy Zucchini Lasagna
- Grilled Sweet Potato and Blueberry Salad
- Spinach, Sausage and Mushroom Quiche
Practice gratitude. Did you know that giving thanks can make you happier? Practicing gratitude helps us to feel more positive emotions, improves health and helps to build strong relationships. You can practice gratitude by writing someone a note (or email) or by keeping a journal.
Drink more water. As simple as it sounds, drinking water is important to our health. Drinking enough water will help prevent dehydration which can affect our thinking. It helps to prevent constipation and it keeps our body from overheating.
While you are on your way building healthy habits don’t forget to celebrate your successes! Celebrating along the way will help to keep you motivated and encouraged. If you don’t see immediate improvement don’t feel discouraged. It doesn’t necessarily mean what you are doing isn’t working. And it’s also ok to make changes along the way.
Looking for more inspo? Check out my article titled “Why I Finally Decided to Stop Making Weight Loss My New Year’s Resolution”