As a health and fitness business owner, I am well aware of the majority of Americans who make a New Years Resolution to "Lose weight", "Eat healthier" or to "Get in shape". I cringe every time I hear someone say this. Being a Licenced Mental Health Counselor, an Eating Psychology Specialist and a Certified Personal Trainer, I know that any person saying one or all of those phrases is doomed. They will not "lose weight", eat healthier" or "get in shape" next year. How can I be so certain? Because of the way they are stating their goals. These kinds of general goals are never achieved. Defining your goals by following the SMART rule is very important for new years resolutions.
S- Specific: How many pounds can you reasonable and realistically lose? A safe way to estimate is to assume an average loss of a pound a week. Is it more realistic to have a body composition goal instead of a pounds lost goal (highly suggest this for those over 40!). Be specific: "I plan to reduce my body fat from 48% to 30%."
M- Measurable: How will you measure this? Do you have a body composition scale or another way to measure it? How often will you measure it? How will you track it? What is the rate of change you are looking for? For example "I want to lose a pound a week at a minimum."
A: Attainable: Again, setting a pie in the sky goal may make you feel hopeful and fill your brain with visions of you looking amazing in a swimsuit, but we need to bring you back to reality. To safely lose weight in a way that is sustainable (i.e. permanent) you may have to drop your standards a bit. I had a client ask me if she would ever have arms like mine. I said yes, but you may be looking at achieving this a lot further down the road than you may be willing to work at it for. Be realistic. That fad "30 pounds and 30 days" diet may work short term, but guess what, I have a roster full of clients who did those programs (some even several times over) and gained all the weight back plus some. Why? Because that 30-day lifestyle was not sustainable, and I argue, the methods used just are not safe for your health in the long run. Add to the A an accountability partner...actually several accountability partners. Research shows you are up to 90% more likely to achieve your goals if you make them public and regularly update and check in with your accountability partners. So yes, announce it on social media and ask people to hold you to it. And dont get mad at them when they call you out when you post a picture of the 3rd slice of pizza a bucket of fries you are having for dinner.
R: Relevant: One of the best excuses I received from a participant for not following the nutrition plan was "The nutrition plan is not conducive to my lifestyle." I had to do a double take and conceded that he was right. Some people just live a lifestyle of drinking beer and eating hot wings. It's their thing and they wouldn't be "them" without this. Look at your goal to fit into that size 2 dress and ask yourself, "Am I willing to give up the specific lifestyle that I have that keeps me from being able to fit into that size?" If the answer is "no", then you need to change your goal. How about a goal of eating on the plan from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm and have a chat window from 7:00 to 8:00 pm and not worry about making a goal to be a certain size, rather, eating healthy most of the time.
T: Time: This is a big problem with Americans. Everyone says they don't have time to workout or to meal plan and prep, yet they binge on 6 hours of Netflix on a Friday night. If you dont give yourself a time schedule to achieve your small goals that lead up to your big goal, time will fly by and that goal will stay just as far away as it was a year ago. Schedule time in your day, every day to be active. Schedule time every week to meal plan, grocery shop and meal prep for the week. Your time reflects your priorities. Take a week and just monitor how much you spend watching TV or on social media. I bet its much more than you thought. If you would just cut back on a few hours each week on those sedentary activities and replace them with the activities that will get you closer to achieving your goals, no time is lost. You dont have to "fit in" anything extra in your life, you are just getting rid of some of those time-sucking behaviors that are getting in the way of your goals.
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