New Year, New You?

With the final stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, many expect to be transformed from pumpkin to princess or rags to riches in the coming year. Dreams of betterment dance in our heads: to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, save more money, find the job of our dreams…

While some of these resolutions may be realistic, others are outright unreasonable and unattainable. If you couldn’t lose 50 pounds last year or save $500 every month, then why will it happen this year?

I am not saying you should scrap your resolutions completely. I believe this is a great time of year to reflect on what you have accomplished in the previous year and plan for what you want to achieve in the future. Instead of calling these ambitions resolutions, let’s call them “S.M.A.R.T. goals”.

“Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.” ~Renowned American philanthropist Elbert Hubbard

Just what is a S.M.A.R.T. goal?

It is any goal that is:
• Specific
• Measurable
• Attainable
• Realistic
• Timely/Tangible

For example, if you want to lose weight, then you need to decide how many pounds you want to shed and how long it is going to take you (be specific). You will need to weigh yourself weekly and take your waist and hip measurements to make sure you are on track (making it measurable and tangible). Make sure your goal is attainable, realistic and timely. A weight loss of 2 pounds per week is doable, but a loss of 40 pounds over 10 weeks is not.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help to reach your goal. Consult with a licensed healthcare professional to determine what is realistic and attainable for you. If you are trying to lose weight, he or she can help you plan meals, follow specific nutritional guidelines, develop an exercise schedule, and identify obstacles that prevent weight loss and ways to overcome them (e.g. support your thyroid gland, reduce stress, balance your hormones, prevent stress-related eating, reduce cravings, etc).

Don’t go it alone! Increase your chance of success by buddying up with a friend or family member for your workouts and/or for regular update meetings.

Try and try again. Don’t give up! Piers Steel, author of The Procrastination Equation and professor at the University of Calgary, discovered that it may take five attempts for a vow/goal to hold. The key to achieving your goal is to get right back on the horse. See each new day as a new start. Imagine, as an infant and then as a child, that you gave up trying to walk and then ride a bike. Life would be very different than it is right now!

It definitely won’t be easy at first and you will have to make sacrifices to achieve your goals. But the satisfaction of reaching your goal will keep you coming back for more.

“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.” ~Sidney Howard

So let’s make this New Year one where you are a healthier you through S.M.A.R.T. goal planning. Come on, I know you can do it!

Happy 2012!

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” ~Lawrence J. Peter

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed healthcare practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed healthcare professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.