It is a customary tradition from my country (Venezuela) and I am sure a few others in South America to spend time with family and friends on New Years Eve and all together toast with our champagne glasses when the ball drops at midnight. That is not so different from here. What is different however, is the bowl of 12 grapes we eat along with the champagne. According to this tradition, one must eat one grape at each of the midnight clock chimes. That is physically and literally impossible however. If you don’t think so, try stuffing your face with 12 grapes within 12 seconds. It is pretty hilarious to watch. But why do we do that? Well since I was a kid I have been told each grape represents a wish for something you want to happen in the new year. Those wishes are also known in my book as “New Years Resolutions”

January 1st is like a Monday on steroids (even when it is not a Monday). It represents an

 opportunity for people to start fresh and reset, to accomplish things they did not accomplish in the previous year. Usually, we start motivated and full of enthusiasm with these great goals we want to achieve, but the ends of the year comes around, we look back, and sometimes we get a bit disappointed because we didn’t really achieve all we had listed. I give you my example. I sat on a table with my family last year and in my phone I listed all these resolutions:

1. Financial Stability

2. Success with my business

3. Travel to Europe

4. Best shape and physique of my life (haha still far from it)

5. Learn a new skill

6. Handstand in the Gran Canyon (WTF? haha)

7. Help one person be better

8. Skydive

9. Read 6 books

10. Be happy 99% of the time

11. Squat 500 lbs (I was out of my mind when I wrote this clearly)

12. Happiness for my family

Looking back,I can confidently say I accomplished 2-3 of those fully. The rest, not a chance. So I started thinking, what is wrong with these resolutions? Based on my professional expertise on changing people’s nutrition-related behaviors, goals that are vague are rarely accomplished. And that is exactly what was wrong with mine.

I wanted to write this post to give you some advice on how to make resolutions that you will feel proud of at the end of 2016, because you made them happen!! So check it out!

  • Make SMART goals and resolutions (Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic, and Time-bound). Here is how you make a goal SMART. Let’s take the resolution that most people will make for 2016… LOSE WEIGHT.

Not a SMART goal

“ I am going to lose weight in 2016”

SMART Goal

“By the end of February I will have lost 5-8 pounds by exercising and eating healthier and will continue to lose at least 1-2 pounds per month until I reach my goal weight of X”

This instead of a goal, is more of a statement you are making. It is Specific, you can Measure it by pounds, it is Achievable and Realistic since you aren’t trying to lose 40 pounds in 2 months, and most importantly it is Time-bound. You are setting deadlines to your goal.

  • Seek social support and journal your progress– one of the mistakes I made back in 2014, was that I never told anyone what I wanted to accomplish. According to British psychologist Richard Wiseman, when your resolutions are made public, you have more social pressure to accomplish them. How to do that? Well for starters, instead of using Facebook to post your complaints about the world or share cat videos, you could post your resolutions, and your progress on each of them. For example, if on of your resolutions is to improve your business by gaining 100 new clients, then post about it, let the world know you are doing great. It is not bragging, it is sharing something you wanted to achieve and people love to see that (forget about the haters, because they, unlike you, have no goals)

  • Make less than 5 resolutions – I have learned throughout the years that the more you want, the less you have. The problem with the 12 grapes is that 12 wishes/resolutions are just too many. Unless you are the most productive person on earth, chances are you will not get to all of them (I couldn’t). Stick to reality. I think 4-5 is more than enough. That gives you a quarter year for each one (That’s 3 months, 12 weeks, 90 days).

  • Toss away the rearview mirror (not literally). Stop looking back at past failures, only look back to see why things didn’t work, so you don’t make the same mistakes.

  • It is not a big deal!! Do not beat yourself up if you didn’t lose 5 pounds by February. Sometimes disappointment for not reaching a certain goal sets us back to bad habits that in the past kept you from doing the things you needed to do to checkmark those resolutions. Reflect back why you couldn’t get to the goal and keep moving forward to keep working to achieve it.

Now it is time to use these tools and sit down to write down your goals. Do not wait until the last minute to do it. Give yourself an hour to really think how you are going to kick 2016 in the butt!! My gift to you is three (3) nutrition related resolutions anyone can make for 2016.

  1. By June 2016 I will have logged in at least 80 training/exercise/physical activity sessions by exercising at least 3 times per week engaging in activities such as walking, gym, boot-camp session, biking, hiking.  There are approximately 180 days in 6 months, and 80 sessions is equivalent to 3 workout sessions per week. That is not too hard to accomplish, and make sure you document this. Buy a journal, or a calendar and mark down when you worked out.

    • How? Think of exercise as anything physically active

      • 1-hour workout at the gym

      • 1-hour walk around town

      • 1-hour bike ride with the family

  2. By March 2016, I will have saved at least 400$ by eating at home, not at restaurants.  (by doing this you are not only helping your weight goals, but also adding an extra resolution of maybe having/saving more money for 2016?) The average cost of a meal outside of home is $8-12, that is $200 only in restaurant foods at the least by eating only 5 lunches a week out.

  3. By March 2016 I will know how to cook at least 20 recipes (5 breakfast, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners) by learning on YouTube or following recipes online, and will continue to make at least 2 new recipes every month after that. People tend to give up on weight loss goals because they get bored with food and diets. Learning something new every month gives you a reason to look forward to your weight loss journey.

So here you have it. Now it is your turn to type, what are some of your new years resolutions? Look forward to hear them! Let’s connect.