Let's be honest... you've made and failed to follow through on COUNTLESS new year's resolutions. If you're like me and most other people you've promised to lose weight, get in shape, save money, pay off debt, travel, etc. all at the start of the new year, only to find December 31st suddenly upon you and nothing crossed off your list.
So why does this happen to so many of us? Because we make resolutions instead of setting goals and objectives and creating a system for tracking progress. It may be en vogue to proclaim a resolution or 5 every year, but if it doesn't come with a plan you're sunk.
The answer? This year, focus on creating SMART goals. Below I've outlined some examples to help illustrate each letter and what it really means.
You may have heard this before, but chances are you aren't actually doing it. Here's what a S.M.A.R.T. goal is... Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound (there are a few variations on what the letters stand for, but they are all about the same).
Specific is "I will achieve and maintain a 28" waistline" or "I will pay off all $5,127 on my credit card". Vague is making goals like "I will lose weight" or "I will pay off my debt". There are still a lot of questions I need clarified to really know what you're talking about.
Measurable typically means a number. If I know I'm starting at one weight and want t lose 20 pounds, it's easy for me to measure my progress. With goals like "I will improve my relationship with my family" require some specifics and a chosen system of measure. For this you could say "I will call my parents at least 2 times every month" so that every month you can track whether or not you've met your goal.
I think we should all reach for the moon, but to be truly successful with goal setting, they need to be within the realm of possible. Could you become a millionaire in 1 year, absolutely, but if you're starting at broke and don't have more of a game plan than playing the lottery weekly, it's probably a goal that will set you up for failure.
Not sure what's attainable? Ask people who have already achieved what you want to achieve! If you want to run a marathon but can't run a 5k without stopping yet, talk to someone who's been at both levels and get their advice on how long it would take to build up the endurance so you schedule a marathon at an appropriate time.
R has two meanings...
(1) If you're breaking down goals by categories such as work, family, social, monetary, health, etc. each goal within the category should be relevant (e.g. you wouldn't set the goal of "Spend more time golfing with co-workers" in the family category)
(2) If the goal is something you feel like you're SUPPOSED to set, but not something that feels personally relevant to you, your life, and what you want to achieve, you'll most likely fail at it. For example, I have thought for years about doing a Figure Competition, which realistically I could do within a calendar year, but the sacrifices to pleasure foods, time, and a social life just aren't in line with where I want my life to be right now. So it's a silly goal to set when I'm not ready for it.
Put a date on it! And remember, you're setting goals for an entire year, so look at shorter term and longer term goals.
Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds by March for that cruise you're going on, pay off all of your credit card debt by September, and have found a new job by December. Great! Put dates on each goal so you know if you're making appropriate progress at any point in the year.
A little bit more...
You can be very successful with the information above, but I've found there are a few extra steps worth taking to help you really hit the mark.
Here are some bonus steps to take to help you really knock 2016 out of the park!
Need some additional help with goal setting? I would LOVE to work with you on it! Just connect with me on Facebook or email (below) and send me a message!
The holidays are full of family traditions. At this time of year I think it's important to embrace the traditions that go beyond food and to consciously try to build traditions that promote good health. Here are the holiday traditions I and my family have that fit the bill...
Playing Board Games
Every Thanksgiving and Christmas we are together, my family gathers around the small folding card table in the living room and play games. Our favorite, by far, is Yahtzee. It doesn't sound like much, but it helps everyone unplug, talk, laugh, and doesn't have to involve food or drinks.
Every year for the past several years I have done a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and/or a Christmas themed run. It's so much fun to get dressed up and enjoy such holiday spirit with so many people of all ages. And the best part is, most of these races are the 5k distance (3.1 miles), so you don't have to be a distance runner to participate!
Post meal walk
Since I can remember, my family has been a walking family. Not only does it serve the same benefits as playing board games, but it also gets everyone moving. Try going for a walk between dinner and dessert or starting your morning off with a big family walk.
This might sound like a silly one, but my family appreciates RELAXING over the holidays. So if you stayed up too late chatting or from the excitement of the next day or because you went to a midnight service, naps the next day are encouraged. Holidays should not be a time where you're running low on sleep!
What are your healthy holiday traditions? Share in the comments!
Want to start some of these healthy family traditions? Share this post with your family and see if you can agree on where to start!
Do you dread getting on the scale? Is checking your weight the only metric you're using to track your progress? Are you embarrassed to tell people exactly what you weigh? I've seen my own body change, develop, strengthen, and shrink and watched the scale do some pretty odd things in the midst of all that. Here are some reminders of the 5 things the scale cannot tell you.
Scales do not tell you anything about body composition. This is me after my first round of Insanity and dropping 2 sizes. The crazy thing? The weight difference between this photo and when this dress fit properly is all of 10 pounds. BMI and weight are based solely on your mass and it's relationship with gravity. How much you weigh does not reflect what your body is composed of. It doesn't tell you anything about height, muscle, or fat. Now, at a new body composition, I can still fluctuate 10 pounds (i.e. get back up to my pre-Insanity weight) and still fit in my smaller clothes. There is so much more to weight than just skinny or fat. Be sure you're tracking measurements as well as weight so you can see when you're body is shrinking even if the scale is barely budging.
Scales do not tell you when you gain desirable size. Depending on what your goals are, there may be a point in which gaining weight is actually what you want! We're in a world that often praises weight loss, but if you want a tight midsection, toned arms, strong legs, and a lifted booty, chances are you need to gain muscle! When I was in high school I gained 15 pounds seemingly overnight when I switched from a back to a base in cheerleading (for my non-cheer friends, that means I went from mostly helping to catch the girl in the air to lifting her). I nearly lost my mind with the weight gain, but it was pure leg and booty muscle that I gained and now I wouldn't trade that for the world!
Scales do not tell you what your body can do. I firmly believe that the biggest benefit of regular exercise is developing an appreciation for what your body can DO as opposed to just how it looks. But the scale doesn't tell you how many burpees you can do in a minute or how many miles you can run without stopping. Growing up, I used to begrudge the girls I cheered with who were smaller than me but struggled with the warm up laps we ran. It always seemed to me that if I was fitter than someone I should be thinner than them. I hope that if you believe this right now you start working on changing that thought. There is so much that goes into what makes your body the way it is. If you're active and eat well, you will be healthy. The pounds on the scale are just one small indicator of the larger picture of your health.
Scales do not tell you what your overall health is. While it is true that there are a lot of common health complications that come with being obese, being slim or "skinny" do not necessarily ensure good health. There are people who may feel they could use to lose 20 pounds but are still very healthy because of how they care for their bodies, and there are people who are very lean who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Focus on your health first, and the scale will settle where it should for your body.
Scales do not tell you anything about your character. You are so much more than a number on a scale! You have emotions and thoughts and aspirations. You should judge yourself and your value as a person more on how you behave and how you treat others, not based on the number on a scale. We all have our ups and downs and some of us will always struggle a bit more with weight than others, but nothing about a number on a scale defines us as people. Self love can be a long, arduous journey, but it is one worth taking, and the first step might simply be stepping off the scale.
lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and feeling confident.
If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done. - Thomas Jefferson