You Say You Want A Resolution

Author: Hailey Dalby, Health and Wellness Director, Berkshire Family YMCA
Contact Hailey: 413-663-6529 x129 or email

As we come to the end of another (arguably difficult) year, many people will take up the reins of a New Year’s resolution. Words that strike fear into the hearts of kings and vagabonds alike. Whether it is to go to the gym, eat more spinach, or dust the mantle, people like to make New Year’s resolutions. But why. What is so alluring that, according to research, as many as 50% (…woah) of adults in the United States make New Year’s resolutions. Moreover, what is so distasteful about our resolutions that only ten percent actually keep these goals for longer than a few months?

Let’s ask ourselves a few questions before we jump into our resolutions. First of all, why now? Is now the best time in your life to make the changes that you are hoping for? Let’s frame this question and take an example from nature. A tree does not do a lot of its growing in the winter. They slow down, keep themselves healthy, and wait for spring to start growing leaves, flowers, and fruit again. Can we make this comparison to ourselves? Should we expect to plant ourselves in a new location, and grow fruit right away, all because the calendar has changed? It is important to take into account our current situation before making a judgment on how much we can and should be growing. Additionally, can we compare the Redwood to the Apple tree? One is a towering giant, providing shade to all who are near her. The other is dwarfed in comparison, but provides sustenance. Not all trees are alike, nor are people. Be kind to yourself like you are to the tree.

Next, let’s ask ourselves if our goals are SMART (no, not smart, but SMART!). Let us pretend that our goal this year is to keep our home cleaner. First, S stands for specific. How can we make our goal more specific? Instead of saying “keep our home cleaner” we can say “Do at least one load of laundry every week, and never leave dishes in the sink for more than one night.” These are great examples of specificity for a goal. M stands for Measurable. As I mentioned in the example, we should aim to do one load of laundry every week. This is a measurable goal that we can clearly see is either accomplished or not. A non-measurable goal would be, for example, ‘lose weight’. A is for Attainable. Does this goal seem like something that is within reach? If one load of laundry does not seem attainable, set your goal for one load of laundry every two weeks instead. You are not failing by altering your goal, you are setting yourself up for success! R tells us to be Realistic. Let’s go back to our weight loss goal for a minute. Let’s say your goal before was to lose weight, what would be a realistic and unrealistic manifestation of that goal? Losing ten pounds in one week for most individuals is not a realistic goal. Aiming to lose two pounds every two weeks for most individuals is a realistic goal. Lastly, T stands for Time-Sensitive. Can you measure the success of your goal against time?

If you are looking for a fresh start, there is always no better time to start than the present. Why not start today? But instead of thinking of your resolution in terms of “what do I need to improve”, let's reframe that statement into “What have I done well, and how can I use these strengths to enact change in other areas across my life”. The best way to start any change is to be kind to yourself. Take a deep breath, and give yourself a pat on the back! You just survived a year that will most likely go down in the record books as one of the most challenging in our lifetimes. I would like to leave you with a quote that you will hopefully be referring back to in November of 2021 as a reminder; “There are countless variables that you can measure in any (training) program. You won’t find one more important than attendance, though.” – Eric Cressey. If you have a goal, make a plan, and execute your plan. Have grace with yourself, and understand that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of great strength and trust in others. As always, please consult a healthcare professional prior to beginning a new fitness, nutrition, or another healthcare journey.

Would you like to share your goal? Do you have a health and wellness goal, but don’t know where to start? Do you need an accountability partner to keep you on track? One of many excellent opportunities at the Berkshire Family YMCA is access to individuals to help, and a facility to get you on track. Do not hesitate to reach out if you should have any questions!

December 31st, 2020