Resolution Time!

This year, don’t set yourself up for failure. How to make the right resolutions and feel good about your commitments.

by Amy Postma

Kjell-Einar Pettersen, Norway, 2009.

A new year means a chance to do something new and something right for ourselves, emotionally, mentally, or physically. But resolutions can be as dangerous to our well-being as they can be positive. In addition, long, harsh winters in the city can make us feel lazy and weak, in both our bodies and minds. Instead of abandoning your goals before you have begun, think hard about what the best target to aim for is in order to reach it. Janet Hughes, a nutrition and certified personal training specialist, recommends following the S.M.A.R.T. criteria. By considering the following guidelines, you will set yourself up for success and celebration:

Specific: Make your resolution a specific goal instead of a general idea. Instead of pledging to lose weight or cut down on junk food, decide how much weight you want to lose and what specific foods you will avoid from now on.

Measurable: Have a number system of some kind to measure your goal. This may be how many pounds you have lost, a reduction in your body fat percentage, or how many vegetable servings you are eating per day.

Attainable and Realistic: Your resolution should be challenging, but also within your grasp so that you do not feel overwhelmed or defeated before you have begun.

Timeframe: Have a specific timeframe within which to fulfill your goal, giving you a reason to celebrate when you get there.

Hughes also recommends talking about your resolution. Having others know about your goal “makes it a concrete commitment rather than a vague wish floating around in your head,” she says. Regardless of whether or not your friends applaud or challenge you, there is a sense of accountability in others knowing about your progress.

Most important to consider when making health and wellness goals this winter is how these goals and achieving them might affect your mental health. Depression and seasonal affective disorder are often affiliated with the long winter months and many Canadians feel unmotivated to continue a new program. Hughes suggests a cheap and easy way to get your Vitamin D: go outside. “The effect of 30 minutes or more of direct sunlight on the skin of the face, hands and through the eyes will create more Vitamin D than any supplement. It helps to keep people moving and producing many of the ‘feel good’ hormones that come with exercise, which goes a long way towards keeping our spirits up throughout the dark months of winter.”

With a S.M.A.R.T. focus on our goals and support from friends and family, any resolution can be sighted and reached. Celebrate your milestones and enjoy your new year!


  • Betty Bryden

    I totally agree with the SMART approach. I have added weight bearing exercises and running to my morning work out of swimming and stretching, and find with the goal of adding another 45 minutes and just moving, it has helped me to become more positive and energetic in my approach to blue mondays!

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