by Hagit Malikin, Student Intern
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s welcome 2019 with open arms and embark on new and exciting adventures this year.
Many New Year traditions usually look something like this: big parties with friends and/or family, champagne, lots of food and of course, our New Year’s Resolutions.
“In 2019, I will exercise more frequently” … “In 2019, I will save more money” …
“In 2019, I will eat healthier and avoid junk food”… “In 2019, I will try to quit smoking” …
Sound familiar? According to the 2018 US statistics, these are some of the top New Year resolutions our society strives to accomplish each year.
Why is it that January 1st of each year marks a desire or for some, an obligation, to make big character or behavioural changes? Setting New Year’s Resolutions, or in other words, personal goals, is seen to be linked to various positive outcomes such as higher achievement and more positive life satisfaction. For instance, a study focusing on outcomes between those who made a New Year’s resolution vs. those who did not, found that more successful outcomes were seen with those who set a goal for themselves in the beginning of the year.
According to the research, setting resolutions can be a great thing, but how do we set successful ones?
For some, these changes and goals can come easy. For others, the New Year goal crumbles apart quite quickly. This can be frustrating, stressful, and demotivating. But what if I told you that the first step is to make SMART goals?
Get a piece of paper and pencil, and follow along…
Be specific in what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it. “Self-care” can mean many different things. Providing yourself a specific framework may help you stay motivated for a longer period of time.
For example, you can specify the exercise you want take on. “I want to run on the treadmill more often”.
What do the words “more often” really mean? Providing yourself a measurable unit (e.g., 3 times a week) may help you fulfill your resolution for a longer period of time. Furthermore, having a way to measure your results may help you stay motivated longer and may help attain your goals with more success.
For example, “I want to run on the treadmill 3 times a week and lose 5 pounds”. This type of detail will help you track your progress!
Do you really want to do this? Sometimes we feel obligated to do something due to external forces. This step can help you determine whether the desire comes from within or around you.
Take a moment and really ask yourself “Do I really want to run on a treadmill 3 times a week?”
Unrealistic goals or resolutions have a higher chance of not being successful. It’s important to set realistic goals and at the same time, strive for something that can provide a small personal challenge.
For example, with a busy schedule like yours, is it possible to go to the gym every day? By looking at your weekly schedule, you can determine which 3 days are available for the gym.
A whole year! 364 days! That can definitely feel never ending and discouraging. Why not choose a SMART time? Giving yourself a time-frame to accomplish a specific, measurable and realistic goal can help you stay motivated.
For example, take it month by month. “In January and February, I want to run on the treadmill 3 times a week to lose 5 pounds.”
So, instead of committing to your New Year’s Resolutions the old 2018 way, why not try it the new way? On behalf of Evolution Psychology Center, we wish you all success on your SMART 2019 New Year’s Resolutions!