Can we replace Resolutions with Goals?

As 2019 gets into full swing, talk about New Year’s Resolutions is a hot topic of conversation. When people ask my opinion on the subject–or ask if they should “invent” a resolution, I suggest a New Year’s Goal instead. To me, having a goal indicates working TOWARD something, and has a positive connotation, whereas resolutions sound like we are giving something up. And often something we enjoy or cherish, in the name of our “health” or because our friends are.

When I meet with a new client, the first thing I ask him or her is “What brought you to see me?” The answer is often something like, “I need to get healthy” or “I want to lose the weight I have gained over the past several years”. While these requests are sensible, they are vague at best, and sound unsurmountable at worst. In response, I suggest we come up with a list of Goals. Goals to attain in the 1st month, Goals for 3 months, and finally, Goals we would like to reach after 6 months to 1 year.

Now the real work begins…Goals should not be so difficult that they discourage you from even trying. So take Running a Marathon off of your 1 Month list right now please. Maybe some manageable 1 Month Goals can be: Cooking at home 3 nights a week, no alcohol 3 nights a week, learning 3 new simple recipes, scheduling 3 workouts a week, going to bed by 10:00pm 3 nights a week. By breaking down “getting healthy” into simple and concrete steps, it becomes a lot simpler to succeed.

3 Month Goals can be more long term–Losing 10 pounds, completely a 10K or half marathon, eliminating most processed foods and/or gluten from your diet, taking a healthy cooking class with a friend on Saturdays, begin a yoga or meditation practice. And finally, 6-12 Month Goals can be “real” lifestyle changes. Permanent changes that lead to personal growth and a healthier existence. Finding a job that allows you to work from home and spend more time with your family; lower your cholesterol so you know longer need to take statins; plan a family vacation in an exotic location to keep everyone exercising–such as a cycling trip in Europe; or break your lifetime addiction to sugar, artificial chemicals, or alcohol. Not easy to tackle these goals overnight, but after achieving smaller goals along the way, they will be less daunting.

Whatever you “resolve”, I ask that you create some positive goals for yourself, that inspire, encourage, and make you feel happy. Enjoy a wonderful 2019.

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