SMART ways to make those New Year’s resolutions stick

By Shorus Minella

University of Kentucky

If you’re looking for ways to make those New Year’s resolutions stick, try finding something you are really motivated to do. You are more likely to want to work towards a goal if you enjoy the activity.

For example, if you want to start exercising but hate exercise equipment at the gym, find a dance or aerobic class instead.After you’ve identified something you want to work towards, be realistic and set a specific goal.

Instead of a broad goal like “I want to eat healthy,” instead, try “I want to eat two cups of vegetables every day.” You’re more likely to accomplish and stick to a specific goal.

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Following the SMART goals concept is a great guide to setting and sticking to goals. Here’s what to keep in mind when making your goals:

Specific – Giving yourself a very specific goal makes it easier to achieve. For example, instead of setting a goal to lose weight, aim for a specific number, such as five pounds. When you reach that goal, aim for another five pounds.
Measurable – Set yourself up for success by tracking your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come is an excellent motivator!
Achievable – If you’ve never run a step in your life, vowing to run a marathon might be a difficult goal to stick to. Start small by running around the block, then a mile, then try signing up for a community 5K.
Relevant – Your goals should be in line with your values and passions. You’re more likely to achieve your goal if you are enjoying it!
Time-Based – Give yourself a realistic time frame to complete your goal.Most importantly, give yourself grace during your journey. Celebrate your successes but don’t get discouraged by any setbacks. Talk to your doctor or check in with the local health department for resources and programs to help you meet your goals.

Shorus Minella is a dietitian and patient education coordinator at UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart & Vascular Institute.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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