More than 50% of Americans make resolutions at the start of the new year.
But our success rate is dismal. Of those who resolve to change or improve their lives, 92% fail in their efforts.
The reasons are many…
We get talked into chasing after someone else’s resolution. It was never something we wanted to begin with.
to begin with.
The resolution is not realistic or attainable.
We miss our intended target because the resolution is too vague or general.
We make too many. If you have 100 resolutions, can you seriously go after them all? Too many misses with few wins is a recipe for quitting.
We don’t track them.
We start big instead of small. Small initial steps, followed by bigger ones, ensure more successful outcomes. No one loses 50 pounds overnight or runs a marathon the first day of training.
So how do we buck the trend and have real success… especially when it comes to setting resolutions for our health? It’s easy. Just be SMART.
When we talk about resolutions, we’re really talking about goals.
The term “SMART goal” is popular in business. Although it may seem simple, it’s been implemented and studied by management experts and organizational psychologists the world over.
Here’s what it means.
Specific: Don’t be vague.
Measurable: Document results.
Actionable: Outline steps to reach your goal.
Realistic: Make your goals achievable.
Timely: Give yourself a deadline.
Like I said, simple. But when we apply the concept to our health, it can be very powerful.
Now let’s set some real, achievable goals for your health…
Health Goals for 2019
Some of the most common (and most dangerous) medical conditions affecting Americans are heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
There are several specific goals you can set to reverse the risk factors for these conditions and even add years to your life. But the following two are key…
If you’re 20 pounds (or more) overweight, lose 20 pounds by July 1, 2019.
If you have hypertension, drop systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg by July 1, 2019.
Right out of the gate we have met the Specific and Timely portions of our SMART goal setting.
These goals start with what you eat and drink. So put them on the refrigerator as a reminder.
And to really hammer home the severity of your commitment, make an official – and detailed – pledge.
An example of what your first pledge could look like is below. Follow it and you’ll make your first goal Measurable, Actionable and Realistic.
My Weight Loss Pledge
I, ________________________, am committed to losing 20 pounds by July 1, 2019, and know that eating the wrong foods will derail that goal.
I choose to be my best, therefore, for six days per week, I will not eat the following: processed foods, fast foods, genetically modified foods, sugar, wheat, barley, rye, breads, muffins (unless gluten-free), milk (unless raw and legal in your state, or coconut or almond milk).
If I have an autoimmune disease, I will not eat nightshade foods, as they cause inflammation. (These include eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.)
I will eat at least four servings of fresh or frozen vegetables per day and three servings of fresh fruit (not canned). I will purchase organic meat and use nuts or fruit for snacking.
I will drink clean, filtered water, hot/cold tea and black coffee, sweetened with stevia (no artificial sweeteners) if desired. I will not add half-and-half or artificial flavors.
I will strive to drink about half my body weight daily in fluid ounces if I’m under 200 pounds. (For those over 200 pounds with congestive heart failure or kidney disease, talk with your physician.)
I will eat only a piece of fruit or nuts for dessert. Sugar is my enemy… it makes me addicted, makes me sicker.
I will weigh myself three times per week – tracking my progress in a notebook with the date and weight – and every Sunday morning and then the morning before and after my cheat day.
And I’ve provided a sample pledge for your second goal to tackle high blood pressure.
If you take this pledge to lower your blood pressure, I recommend investing in an Omron blood pressure cuff. You’ll be able to record your blood pressure and then take the readings to your doctor.
After a few weeks of tracking, your doctor may want to decrease your blood pressure medicine. I’ve seen patients lower their blood pressure by as much as 40 mmHg with this practice.
My Blood Pressure Pledge
I will practice deep breathing two times per day for five minutes each.
I will sit in a comfortable chair with no interruptions.
I will take as deep a breath as I can for three seconds through my nostrils. I will hold the breath for six seconds. I will exhale on a count of nine seconds slowly though my nostrils.
I will repeat five times.
This exercise will decrease my blood pressure by helping me relax and feel much more rested and peaceful. I will keep track of each session in my notebook.
Take the Pledge, and Tell a Friend
Simply follow this formula for any other SMART goals you’d like to achieve this year.
And once you’ve set your goals, take advantage of your Connections to stay motivated.
Share your results weekly with a partner or friend. They’ll hold you accountable and help ensure you’re one of the 8% who actually keep their resolutions in 2019.
You’ll be one step closer to achieving optimal health.