Setting Realistic New Year Goals

By Lisa Holcomb
Many people are already well into working on their New Year’s resolutions. They’re thinking: “This time I’m going to stick with it.” So often, however, our resolutions go to the wayside within a few weeks. In one survey, 45 percent of those who set New Year’s resolutions had broken them before February. How do we avoid this burnout? Here are some tips that can help.

  1. Many diet experts say that most people who set New Year’s diet resolutions make them too broad and unrealistic. They might say, “I’ll never eat out again.” Or, “I’ll never eat ice cream again.” However, the better way to do it is to set smaller specific goals. One suggestion is to take it a week at a time. “This week I’ll have fewer desserts, and next week I’ll drink fewer sodas.” Each week you can cut back a little more, until you are no longer eating unhealthy desserts or drinking sodas. You can also replace those unhealthy desserts with healthy ones and not have to feel like you are giving up your sweets.
  1. Take your new goals to God in prayer. Talk to Him daily about your goals and your struggles to be successful. If you bring God into your plans and trust Him to help you, then you are already on your way to success.
  1. Get a buddy. Enlist the help of a likeminded friend who can set goals with you. You can hold each other accountable. I personally find it so much easier to stick to a goal if I have someone to partner with.
  1. Measure your goals. Take time to write down your goals, and keep track of your progress. Try posting your goals and progress in a place where you will see them often, such as on your refrigerator.
  1. Set rewards that hit short-, mid- and long-term goals, but don’t reward with food. Instead, choose rewards like trips to the movies, a new article of clothing, or a book. If your goal is weightloss, nothing is more exciting than to hit a goal and have to go shopping for clothes that now fit properly.
  1. Set time-based goals. Goals should include a specific date of completion, with mini-deadlines along the way. For example, “I want to achieve my goal of losing 10 pounds by March 31.” You could then set up dates when you’d like to have lost 2 pounds, 5 pounds, etc.

Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your goal. Simply reset it and start again. Also, keep in mind that your family is most likely watching you during this goal-setting journey. How you respond to success and failure won’t be lost on them. You have a chance to teach a valuable lesson to your children through your example.
Don’t be afraid to set those first of the year goals. Just make sure you are kind to yourself and be realistic. Ask for help. It doesn’t matter if your goal is weight / health-related or something else. If you follow the tips mentioned, you are on your way to success.
Lisa Holcomb and her husband, Will, have six children (her oldest two children are married and have babies of their own) and live near Austin, Texas, with their four boys. Lisa is co-founder of Build a Menu and is known as the “Queen of Meal Time Makeovers.” She is an author, speaker, and an advocate for adoption, family nutrition, savvy grocery shopping, and family dinners.

1 thought on “Setting Realistic New Year Goals

  1. Brilliant advice. I gave up making resolutions years ago and instead used that year-end period to make PLANS. It works out so much better–kind of like what you suggested about dieting, if you have a definite plan of small steps to take to make changes, the change happens gradually and before you know it, you’ve achieved your goal!

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