New year’s resolutions: Short-term, measurable goals may work the best

As the new year begins, some will make resolutions in the hopes of bettering their lives, but these resolutions need to be realistic.

Tracy Mitchell, a manager with Valley Health Wellness Services, said that short-term, measurable goals give the best hope for success.

“We discourage people from setting new year resolutions,” she said, “Resolutions tend to set a person up for failure.”

Resolutions tend to be long-term and can feel out of reach, she said, and when it seems out of reach, people become discouraged and give up.

Short-term goals that can be measured on a regular basis are best because you can see the results sooner and those results can motivate you to keep going, she added.

To determine your goals, she said, look at the dimensions of your life and evaluate where you want to improve. She said many people focus on fitness and nutritional wellness, but there are other areas of wellness in your life that need to be considered.

She lists seven dimensions, which are, social, occupational, intellectual, environmental, emotional, spiritual and physical wellness.

In order to achieve your goals, she said you need to set “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym that allows someone to set attainable goals. SMART stands for:
• Specific
• Measurable
• Action-oriented (steps that will lead you to your goal)
• Realistic (set yourself up for success)
• Timed (set target dates with stepping stones)

Goals need to match the individual and what is important to that person. She said a person shouldn’t make a goal because someone else said it was a good goal. Goals need to be unique to the individual in order to be successful.

Writing down goals and creating and an action plan is a way to “increase the likelihood of success,” she said.

Rating the goals by importance can let a person see what is valued most and create a starting point.

Once a plan has been created, track any progress to see how far you’ve come and where you still need to go.

Finding a partner who shares a similar or common goal, she said, can keep you focused and gives you someone to talk to about progress or hurdles you may be facing.

She added that rewarding and celebrating little successes is also important. Those little successes will help you achieve your goals.

Becky Polite, fitness manager with Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center, added that achieving these goals may require some professional guidance.

A personal trainer can give guidance and support to someone who may be struggling with meeting goals.

She said people can feel intimidated by a fitness center, but a personal trainer can help find something that you enjoy doing and give personalized attention for better results.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com