SMART New Year’s Resolutions

All right, part of the New Year is having resolutions. That’s a given. The new year brings new hope, new visions, new goals, new life, along those lines. But this time around be S.M.A.R.T. when you try to do all these New Year’s resolutions. S.M.A.R.T. as in having goals that are

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Timebound

All behavior counsellors and strategic planners swear by these criteria in goal-setting. This should not be any different than your New Year’s resolutions.

Myself, I have re-defined my approach to New Year’s RESOLUTIONS because I have been 100% failure at them in previous years. If I wanted to have some degree of success, I don’t RESOLVE anymore, I simply try, doing small steps at a time. I do not leap to great heights when I know I would just make the fall more painful when — not if — I fail and fall off my “New Year’s resolutions.”

I even change my vocabulary, from RESOLUTIONS to PLANS or GOALS.

Not saying be petty with your plans. Just be S.M.A.R.T. with your plans or goals.

Be SPECIFIC. Instead of resolving to be healthy, chunk down this big idea of being healthy into smaller sections. Examples: I focus on managing better my blood sugar (I’m Type 2 diabetic). Or I focus on getting a better hold on my blood pressure (men past 50 have hypertension problems). Or, take better care of my prostate (men over 50 start developing problems with this walnut-shaped male organ). “Specific” means just that.

ctto: Julia Smith @delish.com/food-news

MEASURABLE is something you can quantify or count easily. Say, instead of resolving to diet (a broad and vague concept), establish how much calorie range you can manage to stay within each day. If that’s still too vague and hard to measure, then go by number of cups of rice per day. We Asians can’t seem to let go of rice altogether. Assess how much or little of rice you can handle: three platefuls to three cups a day, or down to 2 cups, by eating no more than a cup of rice for lunch or for dinner. Do not include rice in your breakfast.

Calorie or food intake count is actually still dicey. Rice is carbohydrate, so you also need to lower your total carbohydrate intake, like bread, pasta, desserts, even fruits, among other sources of carbohydrate. Check how much you’re currently eating, and set a smaller quantity, by count or serving sizes, if you find counting calories too mind-boggling and cumbersome.

For diabetics who want to consider their carb intakes, the comparative net carbs per 100 grams of certain fruits as shown on the left might be useful. Carbs eventually convert into sugar (glucose or fructose).

ACHIEVABLE. You somehow already know what you possibly can do as oppose to those that are more like “ideal” things to do. Aspire for the doable, not aim for failure by pretending you can do much better than you really can. You’ve been there before and you failed because you didn’t achieve those too high of a goal. Just do a little bit better than what you are now doing, say 10% more. For example, if you are now exercising ZERO hour per week, try exercising 30 minutes this week, then increase it to five minutes more every week. If you feel you are pushing yourself to your limits in intensity and length of exercise, then don’t push yourself. Exercising the same amount and intensity as the current week is still called exercise.

For men in their 40’s and 50’s, losing love handles might be a relevant goal

Relevant: Your plan should be something useful to you at your age. According to Men’s Health magazine, men in their teens and 20’s want to build muscles; in their 30’s, to maintain those muscles; 40’s and 50’s, to prevent the love handles; 60’s, to keep the body, especially the heart, healthy; 70’s and older, to being just healthy enough to be mobile and still enjoy the quality of life. Whatever stage of life you’re in, set your goal for your phase in life, not aim “to be forever young.” At 50, don’t needlessly lose hair transforming your beer belly to six packs. Maybe merely lose the beer belly and go slow on those beer packs, and hope to keep the hair while you’re at it. Even Schwarzenegger has stopped trying to look like Mr. Universe still.

If it’s for your career, or for your family or relationship, or for self, it should be easier to decide what you want. Relevant goals make it easier to aim at achieving them. If something is worth doing, you’ve got higher chances of achieving your goals.

Time-bound plans give them some clear deadlines. Rather than a long-drawn out timeline, set shorter deadlines. Deadline often causes us to work harder as the deadline approaches and our goals are still far from being reached. With this mind set, frame your deadlines at closer intervals, say by month’s end, rather than halfway/end of the year. Shorter deadlines also means chopping your big goals into more manageable and more achievable chunks. For example, if weight loss is your # 1 goal in 2021, set deadlines by month’s end.

Slow but steady wins the weight loss battle: Take measurements and photo @ Month 0, @ Month 1, @ Month 2….

Walking might be one of your health goals. Schedule to walk a certain RANGE of kilometers per WEEK, rather than for the MONTH. But don’t make the deadline shorter, like into DAILY # of kilometers. Give yourself time to slack off a bit and then catch up by the deadline. Having a DAILY deadline makes this slack-off-and-catch-up idea too tedious and monotonous to account for. And in a place where it rains some days while some days are sunny and bright, having a weekly deadline rather than a daily walking deadline works well in this changeable weather. If bad weather persists for days or weeks, use the treadmill.

Surveys upon surveys have created a pattern, like the top ten New Year’s resolutions of people. Top resolutions fall into the following ranking:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Eat healthier; Go on a diet
  3. Earn more, spend less; Save more money
  4. Spend more time with loved ones (children, family, and friends)
  5. Learn something new; make learning life-long
  6. Quit smoking or vaping or drinking
  7. Find a partner or get married/divorced
  8. Read more or engage in a once-loved hobby
  9. Change jobs/careers
  10. Travel more; visit other places.

I bet your top ten would not be exactly the same as those of the general population. So don’t set your goals as listed above. Make your goals less, say top five only, to be more manageable and achievable.

Don’t make too many resolutions or you might overwhelm yourself. Keep your list short and doable, and only pick resolutions that you REALLY want to achieve. Yes, be S.M.A.R.T. with each of your remaining top five.

The Covid pandemic and restrictions have actually forced many of us to use technology. Tap on technology to help you achieve your goals whenever you can. There are apps and “smart” technology that can help you stay on top of your game if you just use them.

My wife and her Eagle Ridge Fitness buddies

Finally, have a buddy or partner achieve some or all of your goals. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is halfway the battle and is a great way to improve your chances of winning. Unless you are super self-motivated or an independent worker, the battle is easier with the help of a buddy.

For example, my wife joins an exercise and limbering class with a neighbor-friend. This way, they can hold each other accountable for their progress within their monthly goals and throughout the year.

Call it New Year’s Resolutions — if you wish — and work at them at your pace and capacity. However, be aware and beware that according to statistics (just don’t ask me how the stats was gathered; hey, that’s never going to be part of my New Year’s Goal), that by February, almost 50% of people would have discarded their New Year’s Resolutions, and by the end of the year, less than 10% actually will feel successful at achieving SOME — never ALL — of their Resolutions. Bear this in mind. So while you aim for success, brace up for slip-ups or even some failures. And as long as you don’t completely give up or let your slip-ups or some failures completely define your whole New Year’s Resolutions and forces you to stop attempting, it’s not all finis.

ctto: conceive.easy.com

Or be like me, settle for less fancy terminology and methodology and just work on limited but well-selected personal, career, or relationship goals and you’ll find you’ll be achieving more success that way. Part of living comes as it goes, part of good living needs S.M.A.R.T. goals and plans. Yes, remember: baby steps might just do it.

Repeated, baby-step process can turn that “working to achieve” process into a habit. Your new habit, no matter small but personally meaningful, can be easily integrated into your new-year self or lifestyle. So keep working on whatever goals you believe are worth having — and work it. It’s never the end until it truly is your end.

Cheers to a New Year and a new you!

All right, part of the New Year is having resolutions. That’s a given. The new year brings new hope, new visions, new goals, new life, along those lines. But this time around be S.M.A.R.T. when you try to do all these New Year’s resolutions. S.M.A.R.T. as in having goals that are S – Specific M […]

All right, part of the New Year is having resolutions. That’s a given. The new year brings new hope, new visions, new goals, new life, along those lines. But this time around be S.M.A.R.T. when you try to do all these New Year’s resolutions. S.M.A.R.T. as in having goals that are

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Achievable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Timebound

All behavior counsellors and strategic planners swear by these criteria in goal-setting. This should not be any different than your New Year’s resolutions.

Myself, I have re-defined my approach to New Year’s RESOLUTIONS because I have been 100% failure at them in previous years. If I wanted to have some degree of success, I don’t RESOLVE anymore, I simply try, doing small steps at a time. I do not leap to great heights when I know I would just make the fall more painful when — not if — I fail and fall off my “New Year’s resolutions.”

I even change my vocabulary, from RESOLUTIONS to PLANS or GOALS.

Not saying be petty with your plans. Just be S.M.A.R.T. with your plans or goals.

Be SPECIFIC. Instead of resolving to be healthy, chunk down this big idea of being healthy into smaller sections. Examples: I focus on managing better my blood sugar (I’m Type 2 diabetic). Or I focus on getting a better hold on my blood pressure (men past 50 have hypertension problems). Or, take better care of my prostate (men over 50 start developing problems with this walnut-shaped male organ). “Specific” means just that.

ctto: Julia Smith @delish.com/food-news

MEASURABLE is something you can quantify or count easily. Say, instead of resolving to diet (a broad and vague concept), establish how much calorie range you can manage to stay within each day. If that’s still too vague and hard to measure, then go by number of cups of rice per day. We Asians can’t seem to let go of rice altogether. Assess how much or little of rice you can handle: three platefuls to three cups a day, or down to 2 cups, by eating no more than a cup of rice for lunch or for dinner. Do not include rice in your breakfast.

Calorie or food intake count is actually still dicey. Rice is carbohydrate, so you also need to lower your total carbohydrate intake, like bread, pasta, desserts, even fruits, among other sources of carbohydrate. Check how much you’re currently eating, and set a smaller quantity, by count or serving sizes, if you find counting calories too mind-boggling and cumbersome.

For diabetics who want to consider their carb intakes, the comparative net carbs per 100 grams of certain fruits as shown on the left might be useful. Carbs eventually convert into sugar (glucose or fructose).

ACHIEVABLE. You somehow already know what you possibly can do as oppose to those that are more like “ideal” things to do. Aspire for the doable, not aim for failure by pretending you can do much better than you really can. You’ve been there before and you failed because you didn’t achieve those too high of a goal. Just do a little bit better than what you are now doing, say 10% more. For example, if you are now exercising ZERO hour per week, try exercising 30 minutes this week, then increase it to five minutes more every week. If you feel you are pushing yourself to your limits in intensity and length of exercise, then don’t push yourself. Exercising the same amount and intensity as the current week is still called exercise.

For men in their 40’s and 50’s, losing love handles might be a relevant goal

Relevant: Your plan should be something useful to you at your age. According to Men’s Health magazine, men in their teens and 20’s want to build muscles; in their 30’s, to maintain those muscles; 40’s and 50’s, to prevent the love handles; 60’s, to keep the body, especially the heart, healthy; 70’s and older, to being just healthy enough to be mobile and still enjoy the quality of life. Whatever stage of life you’re in, set your goal for your phase in life, not aim “to be forever young.” At 50, don’t needlessly lose hair transforming your beer belly to six packs. Maybe merely lose the beer belly and go slow on those beer packs, and hope to keep the hair while you’re at it. Even Schwarzenegger has stopped trying to look like Mr. Universe still.

If it’s for your career, or for your family or relationship, or for self, it should be easier to decide what you want. Relevant goals make it easier to aim at achieving them. If something is worth doing, you’ve got higher chances of achieving your goals.

Time-bound plans give them some clear deadlines. Rather than a long-drawn out timeline, set shorter deadlines. Deadline often causes us to work harder as the deadline approaches and our goals are still far from being reached. With this mind set, frame your deadlines at closer intervals, say by month’s end, rather than halfway/end of the year. Shorter deadlines also means chopping your big goals into more manageable and more achievable chunks. For example, if weight loss is your # 1 goal in 2021, set deadlines by month’s end.

Slow but steady wins the weight loss battle: Take measurements and photo @ Month 0, @ Month 1, @ Month 2….

Walking might be one of your health goals. Schedule to walk a certain RANGE of kilometers per WEEK, rather than for the MONTH. But don’t make the deadline shorter, like into DAILY # of kilometers. Give yourself time to slack off a bit and then catch up by the deadline. Having a DAILY deadline makes this slack-off-and-catch-up idea too tedious and monotonous to account for. And in a place where it rains some days while some days are sunny and bright, having a weekly deadline rather than a daily walking deadline works well in this changeable weather. If bad weather persists for days or weeks, use the treadmill.

Surveys upon surveys have created a pattern, like the top ten New Year’s resolutions of people. Top resolutions fall into the following ranking:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Eat healthier; Go on a diet
  3. Earn more, spend less; Save more money
  4. Spend more time with loved ones (children, family, and friends)
  5. Learn something new; make learning life-long
  6. Quit smoking or vaping or drinking
  7. Find a partner or get married/divorced
  8. Read more or engage in a once-loved hobby
  9. Change jobs/careers
  10. Travel more; visit other places.

I bet your top ten would not be exactly the same as those of the general population. So don’t set your goals as listed above. Make your goals less, say top five only, to be more manageable and achievable.

Don’t make too many resolutions or you might overwhelm yourself. Keep your list short and doable, and only pick resolutions that you REALLY want to achieve. Yes, be S.M.A.R.T. with each of your remaining top five.

The Covid pandemic and restrictions have actually forced many of us to use technology. Tap on technology to help you achieve your goals whenever you can. There are apps and “smart” technology that can help you stay on top of your game if you just use them.

My wife and her Eagle Ridge Fitness buddies

Finally, have a buddy or partner achieve some or all of your goals. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is halfway the battle and is a great way to improve your chances of winning. Unless you are super self-motivated or an independent worker, the battle is easier with the help of a buddy.

For example, my wife joins an exercise and limbering class with a neighbor-friend. This way, they can hold each other accountable for their progress within their monthly goals and throughout the year.

Call it New Year’s Resolutions — if you wish — and work at them at your pace and capacity. However, be aware and beware that according to statistics (just don’t ask me how the stats was gathered; hey, that’s never going to be part of my New Year’s Goal), that by February, almost 50% of people would have discarded their New Year’s Resolutions, and by the end of the year, less than 10% actually will feel successful at achieving SOME — never ALL — of their Resolutions. Bear this in mind. So while you aim for success, brace up for slip-ups or even some failures. And as long as you don’t completely give up or let your slip-ups or some failures completely define your whole New Year’s Resolutions and forces you to stop attempting, it’s not all finis.

ctto: conceive.easy.com

Or be like me, settle for less fancy terminology and methodology and just work on limited but well-selected personal, career, or relationship goals and you’ll find you’ll be achieving more success that way. Part of living comes as it goes, part of good living needs S.M.A.R.T. goals and plans. Yes, remember: baby steps might just do it.

Repeated, baby-step process can turn that “working to achieve” process into a habit. Your new habit, no matter small but personally meaningful, can be easily integrated into your new-year self or lifestyle. So keep working on whatever goals you believe are worth having — and work it. It’s never the end until it truly is your end.

Cheers to a New Year and a new you!

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