How much do you agree with the following statements, scoring each one from 1 (Not At All) to 10 (A Lot) as they relate to your New Year’s Resolutions?
1. I make my resolutions with life-long sustainability in mind. ____
2. I choose resolutions that I can maintain for the rest of my life. ____
3. I only resolve to change one behavior at a time. ____
4. I am comfortable listing my own self-care among my top priorities. ____
5. My daily well-being is as important to me as almost anything else. ____
6. I know that I can achieve my New Year’s resolutions. ____
7. My New Year’s resolutions are realistic for me to achieve. ____
8. I am ready to stop trying to achieve unrealistic goals for my body weight and size.____
9. I am ready to reject any marketing that is selling quick fixes.____
10. I know how to tailor my behavioral goals so that they meet my needs and fit into my life.___
Now write down your total score. It will be between 10 and 100. Keep reading.
Here is a women-specific, motivational and behavioral framework to help guide you to New Year’s resolutions that are SMART for you. The S.M.A.R.T.™ principles below will not only help you better sustain your desired behavior but also guide you to make changes that nurture rather than deplete you. At the very end, I’ll explain how to interpret your quiz score and also offer you a variety of resources for targeted assistance if you want extra guidance. The reason why my S.M.A.R.T. principles work for so many women is because they are based not only on my 16 years of research on women in midlife but also on commonsense.
SUSTAINABLE. Smart New Year’s resolutions are sustainable. Smart resolutions begin with the end in mind because creating long-term sustainability is your core goal. Most resolutions don’t work because they reflect a desired long-term goal but not enough foresight. Most women haven’t put sufficient thought and planning into selecting a path that can be sustained for a VERY long time. If your goal is to sustain a behavior for the rest of your life (30-60 years, right?), isn’t it worth taking 6 months to 3 years to REALLY learn how to do this? Logic and wisdom tell us that anything worth doing, is worth doing right.
Often, the best approach to behavior change for women is in a sequential manner. SMART New Year’s resolutions take a sequential approach to behavior change. Most weight loss programs expect you to learn two vastly different and difficult behavioral changes (diet & exercise) at the same time. For most of us, our lives are just too busy and complicated to be able to integrate both diet and exercise into our lives at the same time. Because women juggle multiple roles and responsibilities, we have even less energy, attention, and time to learn and integrate both dietary changes and regular physical activity at the same time. My sequential strategy has you learn ONE behavior at time so that it can stick. And so that you can be successful. After you have had adequate time to learn how to integrate one new behavior into your life in a positive and consistent way, then you work on learning the next behavior. I advise taking at least 3 to 12 months to really learn ONE behavior.