Perhaps the only thing more cliche about not keeping your new year resolutions is talking about how to actually keep them. It’s easy sometimes to forget about them a short way into the year because, when it comes to new year resolutions, you are only accountable to yourself. The myriad bloggers and self-
help writers who congregate around the subject in mid-to-late December won’t hold you to it. They just write about it because it’s topical…
The problem isn’t the actual setting of goals. Setting realistic SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) is proven to provide clearer focus, peace of mind, a better use of time, and more. And goals can be easier to achieve when you are accountable to someone for them.
This year, maybe the best “accountability buddy” should be your own body.
Your body is a sassy old thing. You may think you’re happy and content never exercising, but sooner or later your body lets you know that you are dead wrong. You may be thoroughly enjoying your latest pillage of the fast food drive-thru, but hours later your body will likely punish you for it. The fact is, your body knows plenty about you and about what you really need.
So why not make health-conscious new year resolutions for 2017?
Some of the most persistent and least-achieved new year resolutions are health-related: lose weight, go to the gym more, eat better, etc. They are popular because health is one of those things that everyone agrees is important. But there are a lot of misunderstandings about health, like, for instance, that we can just decide to be healthier and it will happen. This is a means, not an end.
With “SMART,” healthy goals, to which you are held accountable by your very own biology, you can actually accomplish the holy grail of new year resolutions. Be healthier in December 2017 than you were in January 2017.
Here are some tips:
Take your vitamins – for one month. 75% of people usually make it the first month of the year. So why not set your goal only for the first month? Something as simple as taking your multivitamins and supplements daily can make a difference in 31 days. Thanks to tasteless, swallowable pills and tasty gummies, taking your vitamins has never been so easy and so enjoyable. So try it all of January and see how you feel. Remember, February is an even shorter month. You could probably do it then too.
Get a gym membership. There are a million reasons to decide that working out at home is better, but with a gym membership you are accountable to more than just your body. Humans are frugal creatures and we hate to think that we have wasted money. If a gym membership pulls money monthly from your checking account and you haven’t so much as lifted a dumbbell, you will kick your own shapeless butt. Besides prompting you to exercise, the gym is a social arena. Being social is good for your mental and emotional health.
Start your goals today. Why start January 1? You’ve just stayed up late, slept in late, and sat on the couch all day. Not necessarily a great way to start any goal. Instead, start today. Whatever the goal, health-related or no, start it this very instant. Enter 2017 with some inertia.
Stretch all the time, wherever you go. For like a week or two. This can get fun and funny. As you turn mundane tasks into stretches or exercises, it can become a sort of game or even competition. Bench press your toddler. Pick up your recycling can in a squat. Use your imagination. Try it for only a week or two. If you aren’t converted to the benefits of stretching by then, at least you had some ridiculous fun.
Plan out a celebratory lap in June or July. December is a long way away when you approach it from January. And if a sense of accomplishment and well-being isn’t quite impetus enough, plan out a celebratory feast or event in June or July as motivation. If you plan it now, you will be thinking about it throughout the next six months, which will remind you of your new year resolutions. This is important: if you haven’t been true to your commitments, you shouldn’t celebrate your failure in this regard. Hold yourself accountable to someone else for this. A friend, family member, or significant other is a great resource, and will appreciate it if they are included in your celebration. It will be more fun for you too.
Drink water like it’s going out of style. Your body will especially thank you for this. The reasons for drinking more water are many and widely known. Some of note are: it aids in weight loss, improves your mood, relieves fatigue, and helps with digestion. It is also free most places you go. If it’s too boring for you, add a lemon or lime slice for a little pizzazz. If you make a conscious effort to drink more water (and not just cut back on soda), your body will reward you with a greater sense of well-being.
See a doctor. This isn’t just a shameless plug…this is essential to any health plan. Schedule a wellness exam or checkup today for early 2017. If you get a good scope on your health, you can know how best to help yourself. See a chiropractor as well. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) provides some surprising statistics about back pain. For example, as much as 80% of the nation will have back problems at some point in their lives. Indulge your spine this year. Your body will thank you.
All of your goals should fulfill the SMART acronym. (They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.) When you do this, and then hold your body or someone else accountable, you are well on your way to defying the stereotype of new year resolutions. And of course, the entire reason for new year resolutions is to be a better person than you were one year ago. As you take your health into your own hands, and be SMART about your goals, you will be amazed by the improvement.