How to Rock Your New Year Resolutions
Schneck Medical Center - December 23, 2020
 
It goes without saying, but 2020 has been a long year. Many people are restless and ready for a fresh start in January. There's nothing mystical about turning the page on your calendar to a new year, of course, but that shouldn't stop you from determining what you want to accomplish in 2021.
 
In this post, let's explore 4 tips for setting and accomplishing your New Year goals.
 
  1. Reverse-Engineer Your New Year
  2. Set SMART Goals
  3. Find Accountability
  4. Have Fun
 

1. Reverse-Engineer Your New Year

 
When it comes to setting goals, the best place to start is the end.
 
Imagine yourself one year from today. What do you look and feel like? How have you changed for the better? What bad habit have you kicked? What good habit have you picked up? Form a vision of where you want to be in one year. Be as specific as possible.
 
Once you have a vision of what your life could look like in one year, work backward from there. Ask, "What smaller steps would I have to take to realize that vision?" If you want to lose weight, what diet changes must you make? How often do you need to exercise? The point of reverse-engineering your year is to find motivation and excitement about your future. If you don't have a destination in mind, how will you know if you've arrived?
 
Determining these steps can be tricky, but it gets us to tip number 2.
 

2. Set SMART Goals

 
Maybe you've heard of SMART goals—it's an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Checking your goals against each of these boxes will prevent you from being unrealistic or vague with our resolutions.
 

Examples of goals that are not SMART:

  • "Lose weight" (How much weight? In what time frame?)
  • "Save $50,000 in 2021" (Measurable, but not achievable for most people)

How could you make these goals SMART? Here's one example:

  •  "Lost 10 lbs. by June"
  • "Put $250 in savings every month"
 
Asking whether your goals are SMART takes time, focus, and humility; however, if you're serious about achieving your goals and improving your life, it's worth it. The other good news? You don't have to do it alone—in fact, you shouldn't.
 

3. Find Accountability

 
Even if you have a strong will, you're more likely to keep your word if you are accountable to others. So, tip number 3 is to find at least one accountability partner for each SMART goal that you set in 2021. This will look different depending on the nature of your goals and your life situation, but the basic idea is to communicate your goals to others who can and will periodically question you about your progress.
 
Choose accountability partners who know you well enough to ask tough questions ("Did you call your grandma last week, like you said you would?"). Even better, find a friend or partner with the same goal(s) as you, so you can hold each other accountable.
 
Without accountability, our goals tend to slip from view now and then. We're good at making excuses. But with the right support system, our odds of success skyrocket. It also makes achieving your goals more fun. Which gets to our final tip...
 

4. Have Fun 

 
Working toward your New Year goals will be challenging. If you're like most people, you'll slip or relapse more than once. You'll eat or spend too much, stay up too late, binge too many episodes. But as long as you continue having fun along the way, you're headed in the right direction.
 
Having fun might mean taking a "week off" or celebrating a small win with your accountability partner. Balance is key to keeping things fun and maintaining healthy, steady progress all year long.
 
At Schneck, we believe balance is a key component to every healthy life. We wish you a happy and productive new year. Have fun!