This is the first of a series on New Year’s Resolutions. My intention is to start with making more effective New Year’s Resolutions, troubleshoot why they might not have worked in the past, and how we can get better at tracking and achieving them. Then, I’m hoping to do blogs on common resolutions themselves (lose weight, run, get out of debt, etc), and the apps and techniques which could help.
Why write about New Year’s Resolutions? This is the time when everyone has a clean slate, and is thinking about making changes anyway. The best reason for me is that I believe in the power we all have to change our lives in a thoughtful way. As a psychiatrist, it is such an incredible privilege to help patients help themselves in changing their lives!
Let’s talk about what makes a good resolution.
- A resolution is written down, and you review it frequently.
- You have multiple important reasons for wanting to achieve these resolutions, and you’ve written those down as well.
- The resolution is measurable and well-defined.
- You have a way of monitoring the resolution.
- You know the next step.
- You don’t have too many resolutions you can’t really keep track of more than 2 or 3 at a time. That’s not to say you don’t have more, but you’re concentrating on only a few at the time.
- How will you be accountable for your goal?
Here’s an example. Instead of “lose weight,” I will choose a target carefully. Here’s where the well-defined part comes in: do I really want to lose weight, or be more fit, or both? Might I better define this as “fit in my size eight Lucky Jeans” or some fitness goal? What is a healthy, obtainable weight, and does my goal align with this in the first place?
Starting resolution: I will lose weight.
Optimized resolution: I will lose 10 lbs by April 1, 2017.
1. Why: because I want to look my best, demonstrate a healthy lifestyle for my kids, and not get diabetes.
2. Measure: Using the Lose It! app, weighing myself one time per week. I will participate in an online group for weight loss and post my progress weekly.
3. How: Logging foods with a 500 kcal deficit daily, exercise three times per week, reducing junky carbs and eating 5 servings of vegetables daily.
4. Next Step: Download Lose it! App.
You can see why this would be a more powerful resolution. For more resources for goal setting, I like Michael Hyatt’s website, the Asian Efficiency Website, and the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is very helpful!
Please join me next time for tips on troubleshooting goals, and what apps to use to track your new resolutions!