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New Years Resolutions

As we begin the wind-down of 2021, that practice of setting resolutions for the new year are kicking off. Some very common resolutions include:

  • Diet or eating healthier
  • Exercising more 
  • Losing weight 
  • Saving more but spending less
  • Learning a new skill or hobby

However, did you know that only ten to twenty percent of people admit to actually sticking to their resolutions? What if I told you that, just by looking at those top resolutions, as written, you’re doomed to fail. Ouch! That’s harsh Michael! But it’s true! I’m writing this blog about new year resolutions to tell you don’t make them. Instead, set some simple, measurable, attainable, relative to what you want to achieve and timely goals in small bites. Hey, that’s SMART!

I turn 40 in January and, as my husband had to go blow my mind and tell me I’m actually just starting my 41st year (let that sink in folks). It’s important now, more than ever, to continue setting SMART goals in my life. Look, we all want to do everything I mentioned above, but if we re-write those into actual goals, you’re far more likely to succeed. When setting a goal, it’s important to realize the pure intent of that goal, for yourself, as you set them. I’m going to break apart the ‘Lose Weight’ resolution into smaller goals.

What is weight loss? A lot of people will tell you weight loss is measured on a scale. Sure, it is a factor, but to a lot of people who take my classes or that I talk to, they talk more about clothes fitting better or decreases in shirt or pant sizes. No one answer is more right than the other, but you need to look at what that means for you. So to lose weight you have to eat better, closer to the earth foods. You need to move and exercise. You may also be fighting genetic predispositions outside of any of our control so you’re measure of success may just be ‘Hey. I did it and I know I’m better for it!’.

►Goal 1: Eat 1 cup of vegetables each meal for 3 weeks. This one, simple goal starts your journey to better nutrition. It’s simple in that each meal you prepare you can ask ‘Do I have a cup of vegetables here?’. It’s measurable. Did I do it or did I not? Check yes or no. It’s attainable. It’s relevant and it’s timely. This goal can also be combined easily with Goal 2!

►Goal 2: Add strength-based fitness 2 or 3 times a week to my routine. Notice a trend here? While strength-based fitness is broad as it can mean a few different things, you can still define that for you, measure it, attain it, it’s relevant and you set time for it. You could even reverse this to read cardio-based fitness if you’re already a strength enthusiast. SIMPLE!

I want you to stop there. We live in a time where we always bite off more than we can chew and the pure overload of what we have going on also sets us up to fail ourselves. No one can ever be 100%, 100% of the time, but just by setting those two goals, you’re more likely to have more to celebrate just in being successful in sticking to a goal and starting new habits. Habits take an average of 18 to 254 days to form and, on average, 66 days to become automatic. At the end of each of your time frames you can ask yourself ‘is this feeling automatic now or do I need to carry these forward 3 more weeks’ and so on.

So pick a couple of goals for yourself for 2022. Write them down. Put them somewhere you can see them every day. Tell your close supporters and share your progress with them. Talk about it, but also give yourself grace if hey, I had a bad day or week. You can always come right back to those goals and start them again.


Here’s to you and yours for a safe and happy 2022!

Michael O'Neil, Charles E. Lakin YMCA Health & Wellness Director

Category: Health & Wellness
Image of YMCA employee - Michael

About Michael!

Michael joined the YMCA in 2019 as a Group Fitness Instructor and is now the Health & Wellness Director at the Charles E. Lakin YMCA. He left his prior organization after 21 years to focus on people and community. He had a need to give something back to the community in some way and focus on his own general well-being.

Michael will be celebrating his 10 year wedding anniversary in September 2021 with his husband Drew. 

Why the Y?

“I joined the Y to take care of myself, first and foremost, but right next to that was a passion to want to do something bigger than myself. I had spent so much time behind a desk and walls that I started to truly evaluate what I had done for others. I love what I do and I love being part of an organization that is driven to push the envelope when it comes to equity and equality. I have met some truly wonderful people already in such a short time and I am excited to see where this road takes me!”