A Resolution is not Enough for a Healthy New Year

As someone who helps people achieve their wellness goals, I have a real problem with New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I want people to stop making resolutions, but to achieve our goals most of us need a better strategy.

First, let’s look at the reasons most of us feel compelled to declare a resolution for the new year:

  • The new year feels like an opportunity for a fresh start
  • Waiting for the new year can provide an excuse for not already having accomplished our goals
  • Tradition

That said, we should remember that every day is a new opportunity to do better and make smarter choices. It doesn’t have to be a Monday or a New Year’s resolution, it can be the next meal or snack or the next hour.

The Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions of 2011*

*Source Yahoo News

Failure Despite Good Intentions

With our current obesity crisis, it’s no surprise that the number one resolution is to lose weight in the new year, but did you know that 70% of new year’s resolutions are broken within the first week?

I think it’s because people are so hard on themselves and set the bar too high. When this is the case, resolutions are easily broken, because at the time, success seems like the only option.

Instead of making outrageous resolutions, be realistic and make a plan that is achievable with your current lifestyle. Change is not easy, so think about the following things:

  • What is your goal?
  • Why is that your goal?
  • Where do you start to help attaining that goal?  Remember baby steps because you need all the building blocks to build the foundation of your goal
  • What tools do you need to accomplish your goal? And furthermore what are you ready to do NOW.

For example, if you are trying to lose weight, that is your what. Why? Because you want to be healthy for the long term, but for the mid-term you want to be fit and have a summer body you are proud of.  Lastly, what tools do you need? A healthier diet and increased activity, move more and eat less.  Remember to be realistic.

Do you Have a Resolution AND a Plan?

We would love to hear from you in the comments. Also, if you want more to hear more from me and to meet others working on their 2011 wellness resolutions, sign up for Feel Great in Eight, a free, online health and wellness program led by fellow Healthy Michigander, Angela Jenkins and me. We would love to work with you!

Photo Credit: Paul Wilkinson


Read 4 Comments

  1. Right on, Grace. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head by saying that New Year’s resolutions are often made out of “tradition”. That rarely will lead to success. A resolution needs to be a conscious, deliberate and sincere choice. It needs to be backed up with goals that support the resolution. Those goals need to be backed up with a plan for achieving them and for celebrating “successes” along the way. But, the very first thing I ask every client is…”what’s your motivation for wanting to achieve your goal?” The more specific the motivation, the better the chance of success.

    1. Hi Steve and Happy New Year! I am glad you agree. I think that traditions can be a wonderful thing, but in this case we are hoping the tradition is a celebration of successes, like you mentioned. I love that…”celebrating ‘successes’ along the way.” :o)

      And long term motivation paired with short term SMART goals (blog to come) is definitely a key to make the new year’s resolution a celebrated success. :o)

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