December 2020 – New Year, New You
With all that this year has entailed, a clean 2021 calendar feels like a fresh start – an opportunity to jumpstart a healthier body and mind and improve life in the coming year. New Year’s Resolutions are a popular concept that date back to the Roman era, but did you know that less than 10% last beyond February? Without a plan and clear intentions, altering old habits or forming new ones long term can be difficult.
Enter SMART goals. This goal-setting acronym – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound – can provide you with the foundation necessary to make meaningful and lasting change. Best practices for establishing SMART goals include:
- Specific – Be clear and direct when setting your goals. Instead of a vague concept, “I want to read more,” be precise and say, “I want to read 12 books this year.” A clear, highly-specific outcome will help you in identifying the steps necessary to achieve it.
- Measurable – Define how you will track progress. Setting milestones along the way will give you the opportunity to re-evaluate and course-correct as needed. Log the number of minutes you exercise each day or hours of sleep you get each night. Noting your accomplishments – big or small – will help you stay motivated.
- Achievable – Your goal needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. Trying to accomplish the impossible is just that. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, consider whether you have the time and necessary resources to complete the required training effectively. Attempting a shorter distance race this year instead may be an important building block to keep you running next year and beyond.
- Relevant – Pick a resolution that aligns with your overall ambitions and brings value to your life. For instance, learning a foreign language improves memory, problem solving and critical thinking. Being able use your new language skills regularly at work, as a community volunteer or during an upcoming vacation makes the effort worthwhile. If achieving your goal doesn’t help accomplish your long-term plans, step back and rethink.
- Time-bound – Every goal needs a target date as well as deadlines for each step in the process. This helps provide ongoing determination and prevent everyday tasks from taking priority. Adding a new habit to your life, like meditation, takes practice. Create a schedule to start small, just 5 minutes a day, and then add another minute each week. In just 4 months, you’ll reach the ideal of 20 minutes of meditation a day.
This video “Healthy Living: Strategies to Improve Your Overall Wellbeing” contains additional inspiration and insightful information to help strengthen your physical, mental and emotional health for a new you in the new year.
For confidential support and resources available to help make the most of this season or to help with life’s stressors any time of the year, contact SupportLinc by selecting an icon from the Access Bar above or by calling 1-888-881-5462.