You’ve probably heard the discouraging numbers already. Four in five people who make a New Year’s resolution will break it by year’s end. One in three won’t maintain their resolution through January.
However, these numbers are not indicative of weak willpower across the board, they result from vague and poorly goals.
The best resolutions are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. One should be able to make tangible progress towards the resolution every day. Get stronger in 2015 is a noble goal, but it doesn’t address two key questions. How much stronger? How are you going to get stronger?
A better resolution would be: “Bench press my son by year’s end. Do strength training three days per week until I’m strong enough to lift him.”
I scoured the internet for some good health-related resolutions. Don’t try them all, the more resolutions you take on, the less likely you are to adhere to any of them.
From Men’s Fitness:
The 10-phase, year-long workout. “Think of it as a workout program that never ends. After four weeks, you won’t have to scramble for a new routine or wonder what to do next. You’ll have a brand-new block of workouts waiting for you – all of which will build on the gains you’ve made in the preceding weeks. No matter what your specific fitness goals are, there will be a phase in the Yearlong Program that addresses them.”
From the New York Times:
Buy a pedometer. “If you attach a pedometer to your belt, you will move more. In November, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that showed people who used pedometers to monitor their daily activity walked about 2,000 more steps every day, or about one extra mile, compared to those who wore covered pedometers and couldn’t monitor their steps. People who used pedometers also showed statistically meaningful drops in body mass index and blood pressure.”
Also from the New York Times: Play with your kids. “Resolving to play with your kids at least one extra day a week gives you more time with family, and depending on what you play, it can also mean more exercise. It’s easy to work up a sweat playing tag or soccer in the yard or park. Active video games are also a good way to spend time with kids. At my house we’re getting two Dance Dance Revolution pads — it’s a game my daughter loves, and for me, it’s a way to multitask time with family and exercise.”
I’m going to log my eating and workout habits. “Forget changing your habits right off the bat. Start by observing them. By keeping a log of what you eat and how much you work out, you give yourself a framework for what to do next. From there, your goals aren’t abstract and lofty, they’re manageable and simple. Try one of these tools to get started.”
From Yahoo Health, the 52 New Foods Challenge:
Resolve to try one new food each week for a year—or an unfamiliar preparation of an already-known food.
From Huffington Post:
Develop a sleep ritual and stick to it. “Doing the same thing every night before bed can help promote falling asleep and getting better quality sleep. I use an app called Brainwave that has a mixed audio output of ambient sounds like ocean waves and tones called brainwaves. The brainwave tones are supposed to induce different states such as deep sleep, dreamy sleep, relaxation, etc, etc. What I know for sure it that using it every single night helps me fall asleep and get quality rest.”
From Dr. Souryal’s boss, Mark Cuban, as told to Business Insider:
Get back on the court playing pickup three times a week.
Whatever your goal is for 2015, make sure it’s a SMART goal. Once you’ve decided on a good one, tell your family and friends. They will hold you accountable.