SMART resolutions you can live by


New Year, new you? If you’re like most people, you’ve put plenty of pressure on yourself to stick to drastic changes in lifestyle with resolutions for the New Year—and then have deal with the disappointment of not being able to keep up.

Rather than planning an overhaul to your diet or an unrealistic exercise routine, make small and achievable changes that will add up to the overall change you desire. Here are two easy tips for looking at resolutions in a new light:

Create SMART goals

It’s easier to measure progress when you set benchmarks that are:

  • Specific—what do you expect to do?
  • Measurable—how will you measure whether or not you’ve achieved?
  • Attainable—what’s realistic?
  • Relevant—what matters to you?
  • Time-bound—when or how often will this need to happen?

Examples include:

  • Eat all meatless meals one day per week.
  • During the workweek, drink 32 ounces of water by lunchtime, and another 32 ounces by dinnertime.
  • Take a cooking class that focuses on healthy meals at home within the next three months.
  • Try a new workout each month for an entire year.
  • During Thursday night TV time, do jumping jacks or push-ups during the commercial breaks.

Stay focused on the result

Another technique is to push yourself to articulate why you want to make a resolution. For example, do you want to feel better this year? Do you want to be more mobile to chase after your kids? Do you want to lower your blood pressure? Do you want to teach your children how to make better food choices at school? Keeping your eye on the end result will keep you more motivated than a goal to “hit the gym at 5 am, five days a week,” and will make it easier to come up with specific steps to achieve that end.