I’m not making any big, sweeping health & diet resolutions this year. Every year, I say that this is the year that I am going to make a difference and nearly every year, I get frustrated by April and am ready to quit.
So this year, I am going to be making small, measured goals. Things I can do. Small changes that I can measure. One at a time.
And psychology is with me. (A quick google search will bring you results from sites that range from Psychology Today to BBC to Shape to personal finance blogs). It’s like we know it’s not going to work, but the power of that brand new planner is too much to resist.
Attainable goals, not resolutions
I’m not going to blame myself for any inabilities to stick with the program this year. Or blame the fact that it is practically impossible to stick to these lofty, vague goals that I make each January. In 2017, I’m going to start taking small steps to healthy. I’ve planned out what those small goals are going to be for the first quarter of the year. I’m leaving out those future months so that I can evaluate my progress towards the goals that I’ve made so far and determine better health and nutrition goals.
In January, I’m going to work on my eating habits.
I’m living for the first time without a partner or roommate at my side. There is no one to judge my late night gluten free chicken nugget binges. No one to make snarky comments when I start drinking more soda than normal. And, most importantly, no one to enjoy the food I make at meals. I’ve turned into a chicken nugget eating and soda guzzling machine. Despite knowing better.
And it isn’t just about weight – yes, I could use to lose quite a bit – but it is more about health. I don’t feel as good as I used to. I take 7-9 dance classes a week, depending on my schedule. I’m strong. I’m fairly fit. But I’m still struggling with being significantly overweight. I use food to comfort myself, rather than to feed myself.
So, my first step was to sign up for Noom– a service that bills itself as weight loss for millennials. It’s pretty much a paid version of Spark People or MyFitnessPal that comes with a schedule, plan and the support of a coach. It’s more straightforward that points, and you don’t have to get food delivered.
To be successful with this goal, I need to start and stick to their program. I need to track my meals and exercise. I need to interact with my coach.
In February, I’m going to work on my nutrient game.
I already take lots of magnesium, alpha lipoic acid and a multi-vitamin every day. But in February, once I’ve started to get into the swing of eating healthier foods, I am going to be looking at taking a good, long look at my macronutrients and supplements. Maybe I need more Vitamin D. Maybe it will be a B complex or simply B-12 (I’ve had a B-12 deficiency in the past). But in this month, I am going to be taking a good hard look at making sure that I am running a well-oiled machine. I’ll be successful when I figure out a supplement plan for myself.
In March, I’m going to try new exercises.
This might seem silly to the rest of the world – but I hate exercise and have a really hard time committing to it. It’s boring. It’s hard. And after a running injury led to the development of an incurable neurological condition, it’s been terrifying to try anything intense.
Two years ago, I started ballet and it changed my life. It wasn’t just a health change, it was a realization about myself. I need music, a crew and I need you to tell me it is a dance class and I’m in. At this point, if its dance, you can talk me into going. I take ballet, tap and improv classes regularly (so much so that I am on the board of a tap dance company). I’ve been known to hit up a Zumba™, cardio dance or BeMoved™ class. But I can find an excuse anyone suggests a spin or yoga class.
So, to round out my first quarter, I’m going to try out new exercise classes. Not new studios or teachers, but new exercises. To start, I want to try FloorLab (a floor barre class to ease into this challenge). I want to try a rowing class and an Align pilates class from one of my ballet teachers. Getting in 4 new kinds of classes is a simple goal, but one I can easily attain.
I made S.M.A.R.T. goals. You can too.
I do have an over-arching resolution to lose some weight and get healthier for 2017. Instead of leaving it at that and jumping into a crazy plan whole hog only to give up because it was too much, I’ve broken it down into manageable and measureable goals using a methodolgy called S.M.A.R.T. The acronym stands for:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable
R – realistic
T – trackable
Each month, I have a specific goal that I can measure, track and attain and is a stretch without being unrealistic. They even make apps that can help you create and track goals using this method.
What are your SMART goals as 2017 begins?
Mary Fran Wiley is a well known gluten-free and positive living blogger from Chicago where she writes Curiouser and Curiouser, maintains the Chronic Positivity Project, founded the organization hope.dance and has been featured in Allergic Living Magazine, Care2.com and Today.com.