Getting SMARTer about New Year’s resolutions
Welcome to 2024! Many people approach the new year with excitement and anticipation for the possibilities and opportunities ahead. With the new year comes one of the most popular times and ways to make big changes in our lives—New Year’s resolutions.
In fact, according to a Forbes survey, the top five resolutions for 2024 are:
- Improved fitness
- Improved finances
- Improved mental health
- Weight loss
- Improved diet
Resolutions may not be true solutions
Two-thirds of participants surveyed reported setting three resolutions for 2024. However, the average resolution typically lasts just under four months, with 52% abandoning it in three months or less.
New Year’s resolutions have a reputation for being unrealistic and unsustainable, but it’s possible to start this year with fresh well-being goals that will stick.
Setting SMART goals for success
Whether you’re planning to travel, advance your career, improve your finances, or make a change to your health or wellness, it all starts with thinking, planning and setting goals. It helps to set SMART goals, or those that are:
- Time sensitive
SMART goals have been proven to be more effective because they give people and organizations a more organized, narrow focus that leaves no room for ambiguity. And, they don’t offer an “easy” way out of something you really want to achieve.
Three SMART goal tips
1. Trust the process
Focus on the journey rather than the destination by homing in on the process. Specifically, aim to outline process goals that are specific and measurable.
They work best if they’re smaller, shorter-term, and focused on the steps or behaviors required to reach a specific outcome. Set multiple process goals to reach a broader outcome goal.
- Weight loss outcome: I will lose 10 pounds
- Fitness process: I will walk 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week after work
- Diet process: I will only eat fast food once a month
2. Take a positive approach
Approach plans involve actively reaching and maintaining, whereas avoidance goals involve eliminating or avoiding certain things to reach a goal. Approach-oriented goals are more positive and are associated with happiness and satisfaction.
- Avoidance: Eat fewer meals at restaurants
- Approach: Cook more meals at home to help with weight loss
3. Incorporate your values
Goals aligned with your values help enhance your motivation and satisfaction. Your values—or principles that guide your behaviors and decisions—are the passions, activities, subjects and causes most meaningful to you.
Examples can include wellness, family, creativity, adventure, growth, leadership, faith, balance or structure.
- Value goals that include solitude and serenity: Practice yoga for one hour Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings before work to improve my mental health
- Value goals that include family and community: Join a YMCA with my family for 45-minute workouts on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to improve our fitness
Labcorp can help
Labcorp’s health coaching programs can guide your employees to set SMART goals in the new year and beyond. Our team of healthcare professionals supports participants in making positive, sustainable lifestyle changes to help them lead their best lives both inside and outside of the workplace.
What meaningful SMART goals will you and your employees set to improve your health in 2024?