Here we are — a little ways into January. Can you tell me how your resolution is going? Is it sticking with you or did you ditch it by the wayside a week ago? I recently read in the news that somewhere around 80% of resolutions fail. CRAZY! Yet, every year many of us partake in an act of resolution making where 4 out of 5 of us will not succeed.
I don’t always make a resolution. But, this past year I could feel my family’s nutrition slipping a bit. I had become less rigid with our meal planning and last minute concoctions and take-out pizza have been filling our plates. The result? An expanding waistline and a resolution to eat better. But there is SO much wrong with this resolution. HOW will we eat better? WHEN will the resolution start (all or nothing as of January first)? WHAT does it even mean to eat better? There are so many variables and there is no way to know whether I am making progress toward my resolution.
I have decided to take a dose of my own medicine. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom I worked in a Preventive Cardiology clinic where day in and day out I helped patients set goals to better their own health. The typical method I used when helping people set goals was to make a S.M.A.R.T goal. To explain this further, here is the product of taking my resolution and making it into a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
In order to give myself a good plan of what I am going to work toward, it is important that I really get into some fine details of the goal. I have decided that in order to eat better (my resolution) I am going to make a greater effort at meal planning. Saying I am going to meal plan still isn’t specific enough. To make it a little more specific I decided that I would plan to make a written meal plan for our dinner meals for the following week on Sunday evenings. The plan will include the main course and sides.
After a certain period of time, I need to be able to look back and say yes I am meeting my goal or no I am not meeting my goal. For this particular goal, I set a reassessment timeline of 6 weeks. This gives me a chance to work toward the goal for a decent period of time and then take time to reassess the goal.
Basically attainable means, do I have the means to achieve this goal? Is my goal realistic for my current situation? You want to set yourself up to succeed (without selling yourself too short). My two cents on this is, you can always reset and make a new goal if you achieve your initial goal. As I noted above, I would like to work on meal planning our dinner meals each week. I think this will be attainable. What isn’t attainable for me? Meal planning each and every breakfast, lunch and dinner every week.
Here is the thing about meal planning — I have done it before, I didn’t mind doing it, and it worked for my family! Relevancy means – is it worthwhile? Although the meal planning itself takes time, it is worthwhile to achieve better nutrition.
As noted above, I plan to work on my goal for six weeks and then reassess. It is important to decide when to start working toward the goal. A specific date is key. I am also setting my goal on a weekly basis (could be done bi-weekly or monthly). I have found in the past that meal planning each week works for my family (more attainable!)
The Goal: Starting on January 7th, I write out meal plan for our dinners on Sunday nights for the following week. This will include the main course and side dishes. This will be done for 6 weeks.
There you have it folks. A goal (or resolution) that I truly feel I can stick to. I ask this of you – whether you are sticking with your resolution or you ditched it on January 2nd, try to use the S.M.A.R.T. concept to set a goal. It might be the boost of encouragement that you need to make your resolution stick this year.