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The art of making, and ultimately sticking to, New Year’s resolutions focused on health and wellness can seem like a tall task for some.
“The new year often brings excitement for a fresh start and new opportunities for personal goals and self-improvement,” said Sheena Gregg, assistant director of the department of health promotion and wellness at the University of Alabama and a registered dietitian. “However, New Year’s resolutions can often serve as a point of discouragement when we don’t meet our expectations with our goals.”
Gregg has five tips to keep in mind for your 2023 resolutions.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym often used in goal setting and refers to making sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound instead of being too general and harder to gauge progress. For example, instead of saying, “I will exercise more,” a S.M.A.R.T. version of this goal is, “I plan to work out three times per week for 45 minutes before work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.”
Often when we create New Year’s resolutions, we envision our goal as something set in stone that can’t be changed once declared. Instead, consider setting dates throughout the beginning of the year that allow you to evaluate your progress with your goal and decide whether the goal needs to be revised to better meet your needs.
If you’ve realized that any past resolutions you’ve had related to eating and exercise have proved unfruitful or even caused emotional distress, consider thinking outside the box when it comes to creating health-focused resolutions. Health goals not related to diet and exercise include making a resolution to be consistent with doctor’s visits this year or scheduling a weekly mental health hour for yourself to practice a self-care activity of your choosing.
Consider asking close friends or a professional for input on goals they believe would be helpful to you in the new year. Many times, we like to keep our resolution ideas to ourselves, but asking someone close to us with an outsider’s perspective can open possibilities for relevant goals that we’ve not considered in the past.
If you normally create nutrition goals centered on what you want to limit in your diet, consider creating goals that focus on what you want to add more of to your daily eating this year. Instead of saying, “I will no longer eat fried food or drink soda,” a more optimistic goal that will likely yield more consistency would be, “I will choose grilled items more often and add more water to my daily intake.”
This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.