A 12-Step (12-Month) Program for Guaranteeing the Success of Your New Year’s Resolutions
[Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by iMovR’s Taylor Eidsmoe, an exercise physiologist by background, who helps her clients develop an office fitness regimen for success every day.]
Yes, we’re still talking about New Year’s resolutions in February!
Why? Because for a very large statistical segment of the population, they’ve already given up hope for success by the end of January. If you’ve gone past the headline of this article, you’re obviously still interested in succeeding!
The most common reason we often fall short of our New Year’s resolutions is that we tend to jump into something that isn’t realistic for our current lifestyle. So how can we take this perennial peak motivation and turn it into a successful lifestyle change for the rest of the year? It’s really pretty basic. The trick is creating a realistic and progressive set of goals that last all year long—or, what I like to call a SMART plan.
I like this acronym because it encapsulates the strategy of building logical stepwise progressions into your goal setting…
- Specific: Creating a set of goals that are specific will help keep your mission clear.
- Measurable: your goal should be easily measured so you can monitor your progress and keep your motivation high!
- Attainable: Building steps and establishing a timeframe to help you attain your goals over time, not all at once.
- Realistic: Finding a good starting point that is realistic for your lifestyle.
- Timely: Creating a timeframe for your goals because without one, there is no sense of urgency.
How to build your own SMART Plan
If you have a health coach they can help you do this, but it’s really so straightforward that I think anyone can do this for themselves.
The most important thing to ensure year-long success is to establish a habit first, then progress to your next goal. For your first milestone, start with something you are highly confident you can accomplish. As you tick off your accomplished goals one by one, month by month, you’ll build momentum and continue to grow your future goals!
Here’s an example of a year-long, 12-step program:
- January – Stand at my desk for 1 hour each work day
- February – Adjust my diet to eat a healthy breakfast every day
- March – Do something active on every odd day of the month (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.), and stand at my desk for 2 hours each work day
- April – Run, bike, or do a weight circuit every odd day of the month
- May – Meal plan my lunches in addition to eating a healthy breakfast every day
- June – Complete an event/race every weekend in June
- July – Go for a walk on my breaks at work
- August – Adjust my diet to include a healthy dinner, and stand at my desk for 3 hours each work day (begin with 30 minute sessions, and gradually work up to 2 hours at a time)
- September – Do something active every single weekday after work
- October – Run, bike, or do a weight circuit every single weekday after work
- November- Stand at my desk for 4 hours each work day (no more than 2 hours at a time)
- December- Do something active every single day for the entire month, and think about whether adopting the use of a treadmill desk is appropriate (a great kick-off to the next year’s 12-stop program design!)