Resolution revolution: Designing goals that stick

Family Health
Jan 4, 2024

Following these three tips and think S.M.A.R.T. to make your 2024 resolutions last

Have you ever scribbled down or made a mental note for a New Year’s resolution and then, well, sort of forgot about it? You’re not alone. But it’s a new year and that means you get another shot at it.

At the St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center, personal trainers and well coaches help clients set S.M.A.R.T. goals to overcome a challenge. S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Time

“The key to setting a good S.M.A.R.T. goal is first identifying what your challenge is and then picking it apart and making a really simple S.M.A.R.T. goal,” says Kathy Carlson, manager of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center and Health Promotion. “Some people say, ‘I want to lose weight,’ but they are not really identifying the specific challenge. When you are setting your S.M.A.R.T. goal, keep it simple and use the acronym.”

So, as you think of goals for 2024, keep the following suggestions in mind. These ideas can help you start small and build on your achievements step-by-step.

Make them

The key to resolutions is to make them realistic and attainable. These tips can help:

  • Begin by assessing your lifestyle. Focus on areas you’d really like to change. For example, if you want to improve what you eat, keep a food diary for a week.
  • Focus on changes you can actually make. Don’t resolve to exercise seven days a week, for example. Go for three or four times a week. That way it’s more doable and less stressful.

Break major resolutions into small, specific steps

For instance, if you want to improve your eating habits or your family’s eating habits, begin by:

  • Adding an extra serving of fruits or vegetables to every meal
  • Eating a healthy breakfast every day
  • Drinking water or sparkling water, not sugary sodas
  • Choosing 100 percent whole-grain breads and pastas

Keep them

Once you’ve settled on a few attainable resolutions, these strategies can help bolster your self-motivation:

  • Work on one thing at a time. Trying to stick to more than that at once could overwhelm you.
  • Rally the troops. Let friends and family know your goals and ask for their support. Even better, include them in your plan. Team up with someone with similar resolutions so that you can work together.
  • Mark your progress. Every few weeks or so, see how you’re doing with meeting your goals. Tweak your plan based on how things are going.
  • Cut yourself some slack. Ate that extra cookie? Skipped the gym to binge watch your favorite TV show? It’s OK. Take a deep breath and jump back on the wagon.

“Your reward is to complete your goal so you feel successful and keep motivated,” Carlson says. “That’s the ultimate reward: keeping yourself motivated by setting these smaller goals so you can achieve the overall big goal.”


St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center

If your resolution is to lose weight and exercise more, the St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center offers memberships to the public. It is located on the Candler Hospital campus. Personal training, group fitness classes and dietary counseling are also available. Call the Wellness Center today at 912-819-8800 to ask about pricing or visit our website to learn more.




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