It’s the middle of winter and by now, according to research, your resolutions are toast. Did you plan to eat healthily but can’t stop eating crap? Don’t be discouraged: 80 percent of people will give up on their New Year’s resolutions within six weeks. When left to our own devices, willpower is simply too hard to resist. In other words, we are our own worst enemies.

Who made the resolution not to eat at night, only to find themselves standing in front of an open fridge at 9 o’clock munching on goldfish crackers while packing school lunches? Or vowed to hit the gym five days a week, and then work/kids/life got in the way? It happens to us all.

The key to success – and what healthy people know to be unequivocally true – is creating healthy habits, but sticking with them is hard work. As the New York Times reported self-control doesn’t work – willpower is no match for our strident behaviour. Over time, the will to get healthy, save money and go to bed earlier becomes a cross to bear.

This is true for any area of life, whether it’s your physical health, or your mental and emotional health and even career goals and finances. As moms, we not only have to set our own goals for this year, we also have to set Mom Goals: the kind of parent we are now, versus the kind of parent we would like to become. I know I would like to yell a little less, be more present and embrace nature with my kids this year – even if it is minus 40 outside!

Here are tips to hit the reset in February and continually strive for a healthier and more balanced year ahead. I believe the key to success is small gains: smart and achievable goals that are measurable and realistic.

The SMART principle is the starting point for health and wellness, and it works wonders. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed. 

Specific

  • YOUR GOAL Do you want to run a 10K? Do you want to do more yoga and improve flexibility? Do you want to invest more in your TFSA? Write it down and be specific. Warren Buffet has said that to find out what you want to do in life, write down 25 top things – then cross the last 20 off. What are you left with? This will help you narrow down what is really important to you.
  • #MOMGOAL: What three goals do you have as a mom this year? Do you want to spend less time on social media and more time playing with your kids? Be specific. Write it down.

Measurable

  • YOUR GOAL: You want to lose weight? What is your ideal weight? Different charts will provide you with a ballpark, but take note that most personal trainers don’t work with the number on the scale or even your BMI: muscle weighs more than fat so if lifting weights (as you should be in 2018) then you will be heavier on the BMI scale.
  • #MOMGOAL: You want to get out the door without rushing or yelling? Make a chart. Reward yourself for every day of smooth sailing. Measure your success.

Achievable

  • YOUR GOAL: If you want to get your finances in check, how much do you need to be putting into savings? Do you want to put away $10,000 in RRSPs this year? Is that realistic? Are you able to cut back in certain areas and put more away for a much-needed holiday? People who outline goals – and write them down – are more likely to plan for them and take the necessary steps to achieve them.
  • #MOMGOAL: You have to sleep. Research shows Canadians are sleep-deprived. The body needs a minimum of six hours, and ideally eight, to heal and repair itself at night. If you deprive your body of its ability to health so you will remain in a state of poor health, which can lead to a myriad of health issues such as chronic inflammation. Being tired also means you are more likely to reach for caffeine, sugar and carbohydrates for quick pick-me ups, which will impede weight loss. If you are nursing a baby, you have to get sleep when you can: learn to power nap in 2018.

Realistic

  • YOUR GOAL: Do you want to run a half-marathon but haven’t been able to manage longer than 6k runs? The half-marathon might not be in your grasp – but a 10k is! Be realistic about your health and wellness goals, and it will make ticking the boxes much more satisfying. Where healthy eating is concerned, try to maintain an 80/20 rule of thumb – eat healthily 80 percent of the time and allow for treats 20 percent.
  • #MOMGOAL: Cut down on TV and electronics: This is a realistic goal for every mom – we all put our kids in front of TVs and iPads too much. Guess what? Kids should be bored sometimes. Let them figure out what they should do and stir creativity.

Timed

  • Your goals should have a start and an end date. It’s great to have goals you want to achieve throughout the year, but go month-by-month and through the seasons. The best thing about goal setting is you can always readjust and find new targets. If something isn’t working, switch it up. But you know the old saying – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Plan for success in 2018 by hitting the reset button when you need to!

Now that you’re motivated to set some SMART goals, act on it! Click below to download our printable chart to keep you on track!

SMART Goals Chart


erin-phelan-headshotErin Phelan is a health and fitness professional, personal trainer and writer. Find her at www.80-percent.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.