Whole-Year Resolutions (Not New Year’s Resolutions)

By: Jackie Confalone

Happy New Year! Time for New Year’s resolutions? The thought of them may fill you with anxiety, may inspire you to make positive changes in your life, or may completely turn you off. At the beginning of a new year, many make serious resolutions such as exercise more, lose weight, or save money. Some make silly resolutions such as “I will not eat six donuts a day”, “I will do exercise once or twice next year”, or “I will only spend at least one hour per day on my phone” just to make a resolution.

The most popular resolutions going into 2021 were to exercise more (59%), eat healthier (54%), save money (51%), and lose weight (48%).

The company, Vitagene, did a survey in 2019 and found how difficult it can be to keep a resolution.
• 36.6% of Americans report that they are only able to keep theirs for one month or less.
• 81.3% are able to keep them for six months or less.
• Only 11.4% say they’re able to make permanent changes, and it’s probably less.

This is confirmed by past Twitter comments on New Years’ Eve and Day:
(@BrentTerhune) January 1, 2019: Broke my resolution and have been through the Taco Bell drive-thru three times already.

(@White_Adam) January 1, 2019: I’ve already broken my new year’s resolution around healthy eating. Got to lunch time which is an improvement on last year so I’m taking the positives out of the effort.

(@Jo_Caulfield) –December 31, 2018: Not even midnight and I’ve already broken 3 of my New Year Resolutions, and 2 of the 10 Commandments.

Humorous, but the question is: “Should I even make resolutions if I can’t keep them?”

Instead of making “New Year’s Resolutions,” I recommend we make “Whole-Year Resolutions,” smart, measurable goals that can be attained over a period of time…like a whole year. If only 11% of people are able to make resolutions “stick,” let’s see what they’re doing to succeed.

Know your WHY.
You know WHAT you want but not WHY you want it. Yes, you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy but WHY is your goal important to you?

During COVID shutdown, I decided to lose weight and used a program called NOOM™ to do it. The first thing you do in NOOM™ is determine YBP©, Your Big Picture, the reason you want to lose weight or eat healthier. When you get discouraged, you come back to YBP©. Examples of a YBP© may be:
• I want to lose weight so I can hike the Grand Canyon next year.
• I want to be physically fit, so I am no longer out of breath playing with my grandkids.
• I want to keep my heart in good shape so I don’t have a heart attack at a young age like my dad or granddad.

While there are many ways to write YBP©, one popular format is: “I want to ______, so I can ________.” Think about what a healthy future might look like to you. Convert those thoughts into a short, clear statement that motivates you now and through future setbacks.

Set specific goals.
Goals keep you focused. Achieving goals produces a feeling of accomplishment and much-needed motivation to fuel your health journey.

When setting your goals, remember the SMART acronym :
Specific (simple, sensible, significant). Have a specific plan in place to start. You say, “I will start walking.” Better: “I’m going to walk 15 minutes before/after work at least three times per week.”

Measurable (meaningful, motivating). Have a way to measure your progress. You say, “I would like to lose some weight.” Better: “I want to lose 25 pounds in four months, OR I plan to lose two pounds per week.” Keeping a written or digital record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. Your goal is to do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

Achievable (agreed, attainable). Set a realistic goal. Is losing 25 pounds in four months reasonable, given your time constraints and motivation? Are you going to do consistent workouts only, or also make long-term food choices to lose weight/get healthy?

Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced). Can you answer “yes” to these questions: Is this worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does this work with other needs in my life?

Time-framed (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited). Set a specific target date. It’s better to pick a date when you have a plan in place. A target date will give you a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This part of the SMART goal criteria helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.

Enjoy the process.
Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see exercise as a dreadful bore? We can’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, or at least something you look forward to. A good fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

Have social support or accountability.
It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunchtime and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. On days that you don’t feel like working out, a workout buddy will motivate you.

Changing your habits for good may affect your circle of friends. Let them know what you’re trying to do and enlist their support in helping you achieve your goal. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

Prepare for setbacks.
You will have challenges and setbacks. The people who are successful are the ones who get back on track. Nearly everyone will face challenges such as a busy family life, work, school, medical issues or peer pressure to continue bad habits. It’s important to identify potential challenges and develop strategies to address them as part of an effective health plan.

Do these tips and advice overwhelm you? Don’t have any idea where or how to start? At Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex, we have a team of personal trainers who take an individualized approach to your health goals. They listen to you, and will design a program that is unique to your background, motivation, budget, and goals, and will track your progress. Even better, Body Zone’s group wellness program, Weigh To Wellness Trim Down is an excellent way to jump-start your fitness and help you feel better in a very supportive and motivating way.

The last two years have been very difficult. Let this New Year of 2022 fill you with hope as you make “Whole-Year Resolutions” to exercise more, work out more efficiently, and be more fit physically and mentally. Start an exciting journey to living a healthier life!

i The Most Popular 2019 New Year’s Resolutions, https://vitagene.com/blog/most-popular-2019-new-years-resolution
ii New Year’s resolutions that stick – Mayo Clinic Health System, https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/making-new-years-resolutions-that-stick

About Jackie Confalone:
Although retired from full-time work, Jackie is a freelance writer and has been a group fitness instructor for more than 35 years, the last 13 at Body Zone. She particularly loves working with seniors and people with chronic illnesses. She is nationally certified as a personal trainer and instructor for group fitness, Les Mills BODYFLOW, Pilates and SilverSneakers.

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