Healthy Hack #9: Don’t Make New Years Resolutions

About Healthy Hacks

As you may already know if you have been following me, I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to escape from my lifelong obesity and to lose over 100 pounds in under a year.

My results significantly exceeded my expectations and I lost 100 pound in 9 months, 120 in the first year and am still going strong – 130+ pounds in 16 months to-date. The pinnacle of my journey so far was completing my first half marathon just 16 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

Throughout my fitness journey I have been repeatedly asked the same question: what’s your secret?

While there is no true “secret” to successful weight loss there are some techniques that worked well for me. I am going to share these techniques with you through this Healthy Hacks series in the Operation Melt blog.

Please read on because I am confident that these hacks can become the “secret” to your success with your own health & fitness journey

Don’t Make New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year!!

It is that time of the year again. We have just ended a year and kicked off a new year and people are rushing to create a bunch of New Years Resolutions. The top 2 resolutions that people set are fitness related: exercise more and lose weight.

When people set Resolutions they do so with the best of intentions. The new year is a clean slate and they are ready to tackle the things that are important to them. The holidays are over and people have usually gorged themselves on cookies and nog and they are ready to turn things around. So it is time to make a change.

Unfortunately most (80%+) New Year’s Resolutions fail before Valentine’s Day.

Resolutions fail because they tend to be novelties and not goals. We pick an arbitrary date and mindlessly define a wish list of things that we want to do in the new year. Then we just hope for the best while forgetting that a goal without a plan is just a wish.

Can we agree to stop the New Years Resolutions madness because it is not working? Can we focus on real goal-setting instead? Can we agree to set ourselves up for success instead of failure?

It is ok to use the start of a new year as a time to re-evaluate your goals but really look at them as goals. Pick the 1 or 2 things that are most important to you, not 20, and build goals around them. But make them real goals.

A good goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal meaning that it has the following attributes (this is just one of the common definitions of the S.M.A.R.T. model):

  • Specific: it isn’t just a general “I’m going to lose weight” wish but it is a specifically defined goal such as “I am going to lose 10 pounds”
  • Measurable: a good goal is something that you can measure in an empirical way. For weight loss it may be in pounds lost or % of body weight lost or something like that. For exercise you may measure the number of days you worked out or run/walk mileage or one of the best is total steps taken each day (your smartphone may already be measuring this!).
  • Attainable/Achievable: don’t choose a completely unrealistic goal or else you will fail. Choose something that you know is possible but is a stretch. For example you may not want to decide to lose 100 pounds or go from couch potato to marathoner in 6 months because you aren’t going to make it.
  • Relevant: the goal needs to be important to you. Take time and think about why you want to achieve this goal. Write it down, reflect on it, revise it and make it something you can refer back to when times get tough. Make it motivating!
  • Timely: finally your goal needs to have a timeline associated with it so you stay accountable.

I will share a personal example from when I kicked off my weight loss journey which just concluded. My goal was to lose over 100 pounds in under a year while not giving up anything I like or considering fad diets or surgery. That includes the S, the M, the A and the T plus I wrote a long summary of my R that really kept me focused. I called that my business case!

On this New Year’s Day please don’t make any resolutions and then feel bad because you didn’t achieve them. Please do consider using this naturally good time to re-evaluate and set personal goals but make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. goals, write them down, tell people about them and then hold yourself accountable to achieving them.

Nothing feels as good as setting and achieving big goals!