Top Tips for Setting (and Keeping!) Your Health Resolutions Written by: Olivia Frymark

With the new year quickly approaching, many people will be setting health related new year’s resolutions. If you get into the habit of going hard on maintaining resolutions in the early months of the new year and then slowly tapering off, you’re not alone. We’ve put together this list of top tips for setting and keeping your health resolutions come 2022.

Set Smart Goals

SMART is an acronym that helps define goal setting. To ensure that our goals are well thought out, try using the following to help outline your vision.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

As a starting point, all goals need to be specific. Instead of saying “I want to eat healthy” or “I want to get fit,” you must be clear about your intentions. Define what “healthy” or “fit” mean to you.

Goals must also be measurable. How are you tracking your success? Continually tracking your progress will help maintain your efforts.

Next, your goal must be achievable. This doesn’t mean you can’t have big aspirations. Just make sure you have smaller benchmarks to hit while you stay the course to reinforce your goal’s achievability.

The R is important when setting SMART goals because a lot of people don’t think about how relevance withstands the test of time. Why are you making this goal? Why is it relevant to you? Will you feel the same way about it six months down the line? How about nine? Ask yourself these questions when trying to determine your resolutions. If you can continually reinforce your beliefs surrounding the goal, you are more likely to follow through.

Lastly, SMART goals need to be time-bound. Similar to the achievability of your goal, be formulaic about your timeline. Create a realistic outline of small victories you aim to achieve within your larger resolution. Goal setting is a gradual process that will take time. But if you have a clear schedule of where you aim to be and when, this guide can help track your progress and success.

Stay Accountable

In addition to setting SMART goals, you must hold yourself accountable. This can be done in many ways. Whether it’s tracking your success by journaling about your experience for five minutes a day, talking with a friend who can help remind you to stay on track, or even hiring help knowing that you won’t be able to meet your resolution on your own, that’s okay!

It’s all about knowing yourself and being honest about your limits. If you want to get back into exercise but aren’t sure how to program your workouts, work with a personal trainer! Or if you’re interested in changing your diet but don’t have the expertise to make informed decisions on how to do so, you may benefit from nutrition counseling from a registered dietitian.

Whatever your health resolution or goal may be, it’s okay to ask for help and have contingency plans to hold yourself accountable.

Reward Yourself

Once you have your goals and timeline planned out, incentivize yourself with rewards along the way.

Remember that you are working hard and deserve to celebrate that effort throughout your journey. Just make sure your reward doesn’t counteract your goal. For example, if you are looking to eat more whole foods trying to be healthier, don’t choose to treat yourself to a candy bar as your reward for reaching a certain benchmark because it goes against the whole idea of initial goal.

Instead, think about how your reward system can fuel you and your goal. If you’re always wanting some small and special thing that you don’t really need to spend your money but are always wanting to (e.g., a new lipstick, watch, video game, or any item that just gets you excited), think about how you can work these things in as a reward system for hitting your goals.

Now, instead of buying such things that may be considered unnecessary, they suddenly become treats you’ve been working towards and deserve to revel in for a short moment.

Give Yourself Grace

At the end of the day, you’re going to get as much out of your goal as the effort you put into it. Make sure you have enough time to plan and define your SMART objectives. We set timelines and benchmarks within our goals but remember that this is just an outline. The best we can do is always put our best foot forward.

Distractions may and will probably come up from time to time. Give yourself grace when these situations arise. It’s all about how to you handle those distractions and potential setbacks, and move forward with strength and intention. Remember, you’ve got this!