Making—and Keeping–Resolutions

Photo by Herry Lawford
Photo by Herry Lawford

This is the year those resolutions are going to stick. How do we know? Because this year, you’re going to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

It’s an easy concept, but it makes a lot of sense, and it can work with anything you want to accomplish, from losing weight to quitting smoking to spending more quality time with your family. What are S.M.A.R.T goals? They’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have a timeline—all attributes that make it easy to know when you’re successful and can keep you on track. If you have a major goal, break it down into S.M.A.R.T. steps. Want to lose weight? Rather than saying you’re going to eat more healthily and lose some weight sometime, say you’re going to lose 10 pounds in three months. Then break that down and set a goal to eat three servings of fruit and vegetables every other day for a week. Then add that you’re going to drink eight glasses of water every Tuesday and Thursday. Or walk for 20 minutes four days a week. Add elements in increments to keep your interest up but always keep the goals attainable. If it’s all or nothing, you’re more likely to give up. It also helps to make yourself accountable by setting up a support group, telling friends and family what you’re trying to achieve and giving them periodic reports on how you’re doing. Be accountable, but also be flexible. Stuff happens. You may have a terrible day and be unable to resist having a cigarette. Don’t give up entirely because of one setback. This isn’t saying you should make excuses. It’s just saying be realistic. Take things in stride, and start again from wherever you are.

To be successful, it also helps to find your motivation. Oddly enough, guilt and fear—even fear of death—actually aren’t good motivators (think of the people you know or have heard about who have had a heart attack but still haven’t changed their eating or exercise habits). Positive motivators work better. You want to be around for your granddaughter’s wedding or you want to go scuba diving next summer. This isn’t a one size fits all thing. You need to decide what you want and let that motivate you. Of course, My Personal Valet can help, too. Just what could you accomplish if you had two more hours in your week, for instance? Suddenly, you might have time to go to the gym or to your son’s soccer game. You might eat more healthily if My Personal Valet did the grocery shopping and prepped the meals. We can run errands, do laundry, plan parties, wait for repairmen, and generally do all kinds of things that will give you a few extra hours in your week. Maybe your first resolution ought to be to give us a call. Now that would be smart, indeed!

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