Happy New Year’s and welcome to 2022. We wish you a healthful and happy new year.
While we know most people don’t keep their New Year’s Resolutions, (one study suggests only 9% Americans who made resolutions feel they are actually successful in keeping them), the act of doing so is a nice way to bring new energy and new goals to mind as you start fresh in the new calendar year.
Survey data collected about New Year’s Resolutions for the year 2022 points to either “exercising more” or “losing weight” as the top two resolutions.
And interestingly, 52% of all surveyed resolutions have to do with health. Other top resolutions for Americans over the past several decades have been quitting smoking, eating healthier, and saving money.
Regionally, losing weight is a more popular resolution in the Midwest than the rest of the U.S., yet West Coasters are more likely to resolve to exercise more than any other region. Those living in southern states were more likely pledge to drink less alcohol, while more Northeasterners aimed to stop drinking alcohol completely.
According to IHRSA, the most common gym activity is actually walking! Some people prefer the more social gym-setting, even if their gym activity can be done anywhere. But for us dog people, we all know walking is more fun when your best bud is walking alongside you (albeit sniffing every chance they get).
Regardless of what your goal is, there is a tried-and-true structure to finding the best New Year’s goal for you, that you will actually keep:
Goal-Making Made Easy
Trainers, community health workers, and coaches of all forms are taught a goal-making structure that will help their clients make reasonable goals that they are more likely to achieve. They’re called SMART goals. It’s an acronym:
S – Specific: The goal must specify exactly what you will do, whether it’s walk, run, hike, listen, bake, meditate, etc.
M – Measurable: The behavior must be measurable or counted, like the number of minutes you’ll walk per day, or the number of times you aim to complete a task per week.
A – Action-based: Choose a goal that targets a behavior, rather than a product, ei – “do ab work-outs” rather than “get 6-pack abs”.*
R – Realistic: Make it reachable, but with some challenge.
T – Time-limited: Set a date for when the goal will be accomplished.
* Sometimes product-goals can be limiting or discouraging because once the product is achieved, ei “get 6-pack abs” people tend to stop the behavior that got you there, ei “doing ab work-outs”, which is the more sustaining, healthful practice that truly makes an impact over time. Process goals are the behavior that go you there, such as “doing ab work-outs”. These are the action-based types of goals that will impact your behavior in the long run. Stick with those if you like to maintain these healthy new habits.
SMART Goal Examples:
An example of a well-written SMART goal is: “Walk my dog for 30 minutes 5-times a week for a month.”
An example of a goal that could use some more tactics from the SMART goal structure would be: “Walk my dog more.”
Doesn’t seem that difficult, right? Now it’s your turn!
Good luck, and remember, something is better than nothing. Be kind to yourself, be realistic, and know that you can start again, again, and again if you need to. The most important part is the journey!