Smart, Achievable Goals for the New Year

Tips on how to eat better in the New Year.Photo byFile photo

By Lauren Kaufman Aronson, MS, MED, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian, Montefiore Health System

HEALTH - We made it - it’s 2023! We wrapped up our year, reflected on our time and popped the champagne. Now it’s time for the infamous new year’s resolution.

Most of you are likely to have a health goal in mind. Some of us may yearn to lose weight, eat healthier, drink more water or exercise more. We often start the year optimistic, with a strong desire to succeed, but as the days go by, our goal seems to slip farther and farther away. In fact, statistics show that only 9% of us will meet our new year’s goal, with 23% of us throwing in the towel at the end of week one.

These numbers seem dire, but not to fear, I’m here to help you succeed. And step one is to not make a new year’s resolution at all. New year’s resolutions, like the goals listed above, tend to be broad and planless. We have a goal in mind, but no road map to lead us there.


This is where SMART goals come in. SMART is an acronym that stands for the following - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. SMART goals increase your chance of success by providing a doable plan of action. Let’s say your initial resolution is to exercise more. By turning that into a SMART goal your resolution becomes “exercise more by going to the gym and running on the treadmill for 30 minutes 3 times a week.” This goal is sure to set you up for a greater chance of success.


The next step is to set an intention. Why is this goal important to you, and why is it important for you to succeed? Providing meaning behind your objective will help to turn your plan into action by committing to the larger picture. Sustainable health changes are made by committing to a new lifestyle. To do this, the goal must become a new habit. This takes time and persistence and setting an intention can help you accomplish this.


Goals are not met alone. We need help and support to make lasting change. Involve your family and friends. Talk to them about your goal, and why it’s important to you. Ask them to support you in making this change and encourage you when it gets hard. Offer support back too, they’ll definitely appreciate it.


Give yourself credit for committing to your goal. This is your launching point to making a change, and you should be proud of that. Now it’s time to take action. Accountability is important but make sure to also be flexible. You will not meet your goal 100% of the time. This does not mean you have failed – in fact, it means quite the opposite. Too often do people call it quits when they miss a few days. Continuing to work on your goal and follow your plan despite skipping a few days shows commitment. This is how you create lasting change.

Create SMART goals, stay dedicated to your intention, receive help from family and friends and be kind to yourself – this will set you up for a new year and healthier you. Wishing you the happiest and healthiest 2023.

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