I’m pretty sure I made the exact same resolution every year for an entire decade. You know the one; lose those last 10 (20, 30, 40) pounds. The same ones that crept back on each year right after I literally worked my ass off to lose them.
Sound familiar? The number one resolution in 2015 was weight loss and on average only 8% of people actually reach their goal (and that doesn’t even mean they maintain this achievement). This means there are a hell of a lot of people out there making the same resolution year after year without success.
It might seem insane to try to do the same thing, the same way again and again and expect different results but it’s not our fault. We are told by every fitness magazine, famous personal trainer and self-improvement guru to make a resolution on January first, so we try to take their advice. The problem is that the idea of a resolution (or any weight loss goal) is often doomed from the start but even the experts often don’t know what to do instead so we keep marching forward determined to make it work.
Luckily there is a shift in some circles towards the idea that the traditional S.M.A.R.T goals we always used to set just don’t work. There is so much science behind the fact that diets are destined to fail so people are beginning to understand that something needs to change.
Why don’t S.M.A.R.T goals work?
- M stands for measureable. This means that there is something tangible you can measure in a goal, whether that is weight, the number of vegetables you eat a day or the number of times you make it to the gym each week. It sounds logical that you would want to make a goal that is measureable and it is in some ways. But in the end if something is easily measureable it is also kind of meaningless. Happiness, contentment, inner peace, self-love and stress reduction are not tangibly measureable but dang are they ever meaningful. When a goal is not meaningful to you it is unlikely you’ll keep working towards it when the initial excitement wears off. Therefore, you MUST make a resolution that is meaningful, no matter how hard it is to measure.
- T stands for timely. This means there is a timeline on your goal. For example, lose 10 lbs in 30 days (good gosh please don’t try that). A finish line seems like a smart thing to create, right? I disagree, this is because even if we do reach the goal, we are unlikely to continue on when we cross that date off the calendar. How many times have you done a 30-day workout program and then continue with it after the month had past? It is more likely that you would be counting down the days until it was over and then relish on the couch for the next week since you were “done”. Instead I recommend creating a resolution that you can maintain and work on for the rest of your life.
- These goals often consist of implementing steps that you dislike and that require willpower and we all know that never lasts long. The key is making the implementation of the goal enjoyable!
Hi I’m Jenna Free, Anti-Diet Expert and Body Image Coach at You Ain’t Your Weight.
I was an extreme dieter and over exerciser for 10 years and for each of those years I made a New Year’s Resolution to lose the last 5, 10, 15 pounds. The fact that I was needing to make the same resolution every year should have been enough to let me know that it was NOT WORKING! But it took a whole decade for me to figure it out.
It doesn’t need to be that way for you. We know (so much science) that diets don’t work but we are still being sold the idea that January is the perfect time to do that cleanse or start that next extreme program. I promise you it will not work, and even if it does it will not last.
I’m here to teach women how to make 2017 their best year yet by making INSANE New Year’s Resolutions that you will actually enjoy working towards. Make this the last year you make a resolution and let’s make it count.