New Year, New You
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5..4..3..2..1 Happy New Year! Just like that it’s 2017. While some may be terrified for what’s next to come in the new year, others see it as an opportunity to change and create a new sense of self.
January 1st marks the date for New Year’s resolutions, which are a bucket list of goals to be achieved by the end of the year. For some, the list can be multiple pages long, while other’s are only a few words. Some may choose material things, like get a new haircut, buy their dream car, or recreate their wardrobe. Others choose the body improvement tasks: go to the gym, eat healthy, quit smoking. And some go a different route: travel out of the country, meet the person of their dreams, or be a better person.
Whatever the list or task may be, they all lead back to the same thing—improving oneself and trying something new. While these lists are made with good intentions, the year often ends with no change.
People make New Year’s resolutions and end up not following through with them. This scenario happens for multiple reasons. Either they never had time or the goals were just overwhelming. For example, 67% of gym memberships go unused, and 80% of people who joined a gym in January 2012 quit within five months. These are overwhelming statistics showing that goals aren’t always easy.
When a New Year’s resolution is made, it starts with an idea, but that idea needs more to become a reality. Each goal needs a step-by-step plan laid out from start to finish. Then, there needs to be a good support system to keep the goal setter honest and focused. Lastly, the goal must be everywhere. Think Post-its all over the house, the inside of the car, and even in the office to act as a constant reminder. Setting reminders on a phone will give you notifications for when to do what.
When making a goal or resolution make sure it is SMART: significant, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For example, wanting weight change can be a SMART goal, but remember the steps.
Significant (or specific). Your goal should mean something to you and be important. Also, it should be clearly defined and distinct. When setting a goal it is vital to know exactly what that goal is and how you want to achieve it. To go back to the weight change, if you are overweight or don’t like how you look, then make a goal to lose weight. It is significant and specific to you.
Measurable. You should be able to easily recognize if a change is occurring. It is important that you can tell if whatever you have planned to achieve your goal is ultimately working by asking yourself how much, how many, and how will I know when I achieved? Now even though your goal doesn’t have to be able to be physically measured, in the example of weight loss you can calculate just how much weight you have lost and how far you are from your goal.
Attainable. When creating a goal it is crucial that it can really happen. Say you make it your goal to attend the Olympics by the end of the year and the Olympics aren’t happening until 2020, that goal simply can’t happen; it is unattainable. Make your goal something that is possible for your timeline. Anyone can lose weight; it is just a matter of effort.
Realistic. Your goal should be something that can really happen. If your goal is to be able to fly, I hate to break it to you, but as of now humans cannot; it is an unrealistic goal. Your goal should be something you want to happen and is possible for you to achieve. Figuring out how much weight to lose can depend if it is realistic or not. If you choose to lose 100 pounds within a 3 month time period, your body cannot handle that kind of stress which makes it unrealistic and very unhealthy, but if you start small and build from there it will help you stay healthy and realistic.
Timely. You should set a time or date to when you want your goal to be complete. It is good to keep yourself on a timetable, so you have a better understanding of how you should plan out your steps to achieve your goal, as well as to create some urgency and keep yourself true to your goals. But for New Year’s resolutions, you have a year to complete them, so make your resolution a goal which can be achieved within a year.
While there are multiple different steps and ways to achieve your New Year’s resolutions, what matters is in the end are that they are completed to the best of your ability.
And remember, as stated by the ever so wise philanthropist, Sarah Ban Breathnach: “New Year’s Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change.”