Why New Years’ Health Goals Fail, and 4 Ways to Fix Them

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Why New Years’ Health Goals Fail, and 4 Ways to Fix Them

Why New Years’ Health Goals Fail, and 4 Ways to Fix Them

New Years’ resolutions frequently fail. We start out with the best intentions, but it’s hard to stay motivated and on track when life gets in the way. Add to that the fact that health goals are famously difficult to reach, it’s not hard to feel discouraged! Fortunately there are several evidence-based strategies you can use to ensure you reach your New Years’ health goals. Read on below for my top 4 recommendations to ensure your success:

1 Find Your Why

Whether you’re faced with a delicious slice of chocolate cake or a burning desire to skip exercising, if you carry a strong sense of why you want to reach your goal, you’ll find it easier to resist temptations.

Research shows that self-motivated goals are more likely to be reached,[1] so get clear on your own personal ‘why’.

Do you want to be there for your kids, look great at an event, or improve your energy? Remind yourself of this when temptation comes your way.

2 Be SMART

Goals are easier to reach if they are SMART, an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and with a Timeframe. The SMART goal-setting framework allows you to set clear goals and understand when you are on track to reach them. For more information and assistance with creating your own SMART goals for the New Year, read this blog

A big reason to make your goals SMART is that you’ll also improve your weight loss results. Highlighting this, a recent study found that people who set a specific weight loss goal lost an average of 1.5 kg more than those who didn’t.[2] In another study, it was also found that goal setters were 10 times more likely to lose 10 per cent of their original body weight than non-goal setters. It should be noted that participants in both studies received coaching from qualified healthcare professionals,[4],[5] highlighting the importance of seeking help from a qualified Practitioner.

Person standing on scales

3 Track Your Progress

Self-monitoring is key to helping you track your progress and make adjustments. When trying to lose weight, tracking your diet and exercise, and regularly weighing yourself, gives real time feedback that helps you stick to your resolution.[6] Have a think about what you might track, and consider sharing this information with your Practitioner.

4 Get Help

Research shows that health goals are easier to reach if they are set with the help of a Practitioner.[7] This is because your Practitioner can help you identify and implement strategies to reach your goal in a safe and healthy way, as well as helping you anticipate and deal with obstacles and setbacks. For example, problem-solving therapy results in greater losses in body weight, including long-term weight reductions.[8

Whilst New Year resolutions may often be generalised or non-specific, they’re driven by the desire for change for the better. Smash your health goals in 2019 by putting these evidence-based strategies to work, and reap the rewards that come from your dedication and direction!

[1] Teixeira PJ, Silva MN, Mata J, Palmeira AL, Markland D. Motivation, self-determination, and long-term weight control. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2012 Dec;9(1):22.

[2] O’Hara BJ, Gale J, McGill B, Bauman A, Hebden L, Allman-Farinelli M, et al. Weight-Related Goal Setting in a Telephone-Based Preventive Health-Coaching Program: Demonstration of Effectiveness. Am J of Health Promot. 2017 Nov;31(6):491-501.

[3] Avery A, Langley‐Evans SC, Harrington M, Swift JA. Setting targets leads to greater long‐term weight losses and ‘unrealistic’ targets increase the effect in a large community‐based commercial weight management group. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016 Dec;29(6):687-96.

[4] O’Hara BJ, Gale J, McGill B, Bauman A, Hebden L, Allman-Farinelli M, et al. Weight-Related Goal Setting in a Telephone-Based Preventive Health-Coaching Program: Demonstration of Effectiveness. Am J of Health Promot. 2017 Nov;31(6):491-501.

[5] Avery A, Langley‐Evans SC, Harrington M, Swift JA. Setting targets leads to greater long‐term weight losses and ‘unrealistic’ targets increase the effect in a large community‐based commercial weight management group. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2016 Dec;29(6):687-96.

[6] Burke LE, Wang J, Sevick MA. Self-monitoring in weight loss: a systematic review of the literature. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Jan;111(1):92-102.

[7] Leistra E, Streppel MT, Klamer J, Tump AC, Weijs PJ. SUN-PP190: effect of smart goal setting and nutritional assessment on treatment compliance in primary care dietetic treatment. Clin Nutr. 2015 Jan 1;34(Suppl. 1):S94

[8] Perri MG, Nezu AM, McKelvey WF, Shermer RL, Renjilian DA, Viegener BJ. Relapse prevention training and problem-solving therapy in the long-term management of obesity. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2001 Aug;69(4):722-726.   

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  • Kevin Tresize
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