A good place to start 2021— goals not resolutions

It is thought that New Year’s resolutions date back to Babylonian times when people would plant crops, pledge loyalty to their king and pay back any debts they might have. New year has come and gone and people’s resolutions and their good intentions are slowly fading into the distance. Do we make resolutions out of habit or because they really mean something to us? This week, I will explore the difference between resolutions and goals, and why having goals is often more effective and achievable.

Having goals and setting resolutions are two different approaches to wanting to make lifestyle/health changes in your life. Resolutions can be quite broad and not always very realistic, often having a negative connotation, with the idea of ‘giving up something’: alcohol, smoking, the list goes on. We tend to make resolutions without having a plan to achieve them. This is why most people will give up on their resolutions by the end of February.

Goals however are more specific: you can take a broad concept and break it down. So, instead of just saying “I’m going to hydrate more”, make it more purposeful. Think about how to achieve the goal? Sitting down and working out a strategy is key. Firstly, do I like water and if not? What are the alternative (herbal teas, flavouring water with fruits, fizzy water)? How much do I want to drink a day? Do I have flask or large glass? Secondly, what are your personal motivating factors? It is important to identify these so that you are clear in our mind as to why you are making these changes and what the gains will be.  

Putting a positive spin and mindset will really help you in achieving your goal. Focusing more on what you are going to ‘gain’ rather than what you are ‘‘losing’’ will also make a difference.

We now find ourselves at home again and this is a good opportunity to take a few minutes to think about any goals that you might want to achieve. Everyone will have different goals as each situation is different — it needs to be beneficial to you!

A goal can be as simple as dusting off your slow cooker and making at point of using it once a week. Not only will you have a delicious meal, but you will also have a little extra time in the day to do something else you enjoy. You might want to start drinking more water or, getting out for a walk every day after work to clear your mind. As things are more tempting now that we are all at home, if you know that you tend to indulge a little on a Saturday evening, your goal could be as simple as drinking a glass of water in between each glass of wine, therefore making sure that you stay properly hydrated.

Writing down goals, is also key to success as it allows you to figure out what will work for you as an individual, identifying any obstacles and then taking time to figure out how to work round them. Making sure that you have the right tools and equipment before you start, ordering what you need, whether it be a large thermos or flask or a decent pair of walking shoes and coat, whatever it is make sure that you have it.

The beauty of working with goals, is that they can be adapted and modified as need be so that you can achieve them. So, the next time you think of a change that you would like to put into action, take a few minutes to sit down and just write things down to clarify what you would like to achieve and the best way for you to get there.

If you would like some help or support in trying to figure them out, I would be happy to help and if you are looking for a tasty but simple dinner, this one pan lemon chicken is delicious. 

Send your nutrition questions to susan@susanalsembach.com

Header image: Olena Sakhnenko, iStock