Sunday, December 29, 2013

tips for setting New Year Resolutions

It is that time of year. We start to think of goal for the next year and things you wish you would have done differently. We make resolutions, set lofty goals, and plan for the next year. Yet, these goals often come with disappointment when we don't reach them. We plan to eat healthy, lose weight, got to the gym, save money... only to realize it didn't work out.

Setting goals can be a catalyst for change and great motivator, yet setting the right goal is key to avoid disappointment. Making sure your goal(s) is something you can achieve will empower you. Here are some tips on setting such goals:

1. Chose something specific.
Reaching a goal or keeping a plan means becomes much easier when that goal or plan is specific. Saying "I will work out 4 times a week" is easier to reach then "I will workout more". Make the goal specific.

2. Set an attainable goal
Setting a goal that is realistic and attainable makes success much more likely. Transitioning from running 2 miles a week to 30 probably won't be very successful. Yet, increasing your mileage by 2 or 3 miles a week is very doable. Setting a goal that is too lofty can set you up for failure. Picking something that is still a challenge, but something you CAN reach with reasonable effort means you will probably follow through and feel successful.

3. Set a measurable goal
This might be the most important step is setting a goal: pick something you can measure. In order to be successful, you need to have a clear picture of what success for YOU will look like. Visualizing what you want and how you will know when you reached it will allow you to actually reach the goal. Too often, I set goals without setting milestones. Then, I'm disappointed when I don't have immediate success. By setting a goal that is measurable, success becomes more tangible.

Last year, my goal was to try one new food or recipe a week. I wanted to get out of an eating rut and explore new things. This goal fit the criteria:
1. It was specific. Rather than say "I want to cook new things" or "I want to use my cook books", I said "I want to try one new food or recipe".
2. It was attainable. I can't commit to cooking 7 dinners a week. I can't commit to trying 5 new foods. But 1 new recipe or food? I could do that. Even on a busy week, I could find a small recipe or new food to try. This allowed me to expand my eating and cooking horizons, but follow through each week.
3. It was measurable. I knew what success looked like. Each week I pulled a new recipe, pinned it to the fridge, and then took it down once I cooked it. Follow through was much more visual than "cooking more" or "eating new things".
One of my favorite recipes
I've followed through with my goal each week this whole year. I can't believe it! I am keeping the challenge through 2014 because I think it brought positive changes to my diet and kitchen. I am also planning a new goal for 2014 (Check back on the first!).
What is your New Years Resolution? Did you keep your 2013 resolution?

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