We all feel that collective push to take our well-being to the next level, especially when there's a new year on the horizon. And yet only 9% of Americans actually follow through on their New Year's resolutions. What gives?
Many people don't clearly think through how they'll meet their expectations, says Shelly Boggs, a certified Lifeforce Health Coach. "This is a recipe for disappointment, and I think we can all agree that’s not a successful mindset," Boggs says.
Another thing that prevents people from accomplishing their goals: being too hard on themselves when things don’t go according to unrealistic plans, says certified Lifeforce Health Coach Patrick Doyle. "It can be very tempting to catastrophize failure and give up on the goal that's important to you. Don’t let this happen," Doyle says.
The key is turning goals into strategic plans. Whether you want to eat healthier, be more active, or actually keep up with meditating, it all comes down to having and sticking to a realistic plan of attack. Here are four strategies you can steal from our health coaches to prepare for and start 2023 strong.
1. Take Stock and Write It Out
Flip to a new page in the new year. Research has found that you're 42% more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. But before you can narrow down your goals, reflect. "There is something really powerful about putting thoughts onto paper," Doyle says. Think about and document the successes and bright spots of the previous year. Also note the areas where you came up short, and any valuable lessons learned.
"Taking time to review all that you've achieved can help remind you of your strength, determination, and grit," adds Boggs. This process can also narrow down exactly what you want to focus your intentions on in the new year.
Write your top three accomplishments of 2022 and how they made you feel. On a separate paper, note three areas where you feel like you came up short this past year, and what you learned.
2. Get in Touch With Future You
Don't underestimate your own power. Instead, consider the idea of shifting your identity. "Get in touch with the 'future you' as a personal guide," Boggs says.
Adopt the perspective of who you want to be, and you'll assume that mindset. For example, you may wish to run a marathon. If you adopt the perspective of you as a runner, then the marathon is expected. "If every day you work on becoming a runner, you begin to see your choices from that perspective," Boggs says, "Over time, you'll find yourself eating, training, and recovering like the runner you want to be."
Ask yourself where you want to be at the end of 2023. How does ‘future you’ look and feel about your life? (Now is a good time to break out that pen and paper again.)
3. Turn Anything You Want Into a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
Another proven tactic for turning dreams into a reality is using the S.M.A.R.T. goal method, according to Doyle. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
Let’s say your goal for 2023 is to be more active. Here's what that might look like as a S.M.A.R.T goal:
Specific: Riding your bike
Measurable: 10 miles in one trip
Actionable & Realistic: Ride three times per week at your baseline, then add a mile every week
Time-Bound: Complete this in two months
"It's key to break things down into small, incremental steps and declare what success looks like along the way," Boggs says. "That builds momentum, and momentum eats motivation for breakfast!" Plus, more than 1,000 studies have found that setting specific goals is linked to increased motivation and persistence.
Go back to your earlier list. Take a look at the areas of life where you came up short in 2022 and your notes about your future self. Turn each of these into S.M.A.R.T goals and write them down.
4. Seek Out Mentors or Find Your Tribe
According to Doyle, the most important thing you can do is get comfortable asking for help. If you want to learn to play tennis, get a coach or find a partner. If you're curious about CrossFit, get a day pass to see how the gym environment and community feel.
Doyle used this strategy to try his hand at rugby. "I tried it at 30 years old, and it was one of the best decisions I made that year," he says of joining his local team. Research backs this up — studies have even found that partaking in a hobby you love could help you live a longer and healthier life.
If you're hoping to take things like fitness and nutrition more seriously, look for pros who can teach you the ropes. Anyone who wants an optimized healthy lifestyle may like working with Lifeforce Health Coaches like Doyle or Boggs, who offer one-on-one coaching and accountability to help you reach your goals.
And that’s just one part of the Lifeforce Membership, which includes diagnostic blood testing, expert clinical support, and a personalized plan to get your body, hormones, and overall health optimized.
Ready to make 2023 YOUR year? Learn more about the Lifeforce Membership here.
This article was medically approved by:
Ryan Greene, DO, MS, Board Eligible Integrative and Preventive Medicine Specialist
Russell Van Maele, DO, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine