I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. They seem to set the bar too high which inevitably feels like a letdown when the goal is not reached. Most resolutions I’ve heard are too broad to feel any sense of accomplishment. For example, “I want to read more.” Well- that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Something that we focus on in our diabetes self-management classes is to set a SMART goal. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Action, Realistic, Timeline. In contrast to the vague generic goal, a smart goal related to reading could be, “I would like to read one book per month for a total of three books during the first quarter of the year.” Now, that goal is more specific, it’s measurable, it’s an action I plan to take, it’s realistic (I didn’t choose 47 books to read in a 3-month period), and I gave myself a timeline. There is a big difference in accountability and success when we take the time to plan out what it is that we want to do. This goes for any type of goal— weight loss, hitting a PR (personal record) in the gym, walking a certain number of steps a day, reading, meditation, time spent outside, hitting a milestone in your job, this list could go on for miles.
On a personal note, I decided to start this year out a little differently. I’d like to call it a Reset, instead of a resolution. If there is anything I needed after this crazy, crazy, crazy year was to feel some sense of control and to do something unselfishly for myself. I had read about several people trying a challenge called ‘75 Hard’ and anytime I hear the word challenge my ears perk up and I’m instantly intrigued. As any challenge goes, there were reviews from people that (to my knowledge) didn’t do it, but decided it sounded too intense; however, what got me was all the reviews of people who did do it and how it changed them. 75 Hard is actually not labeled as a fitness challenge but more so a transformative, mental toughness challenge, per the creator, entrepreneur and motivational speaker Andy Frisella.
The challenge includes 7 simple (I didn’t say easy) rules that have to be completed every single day for 75 days straight. If you falter, miss one task, or mess up- you start over. The rules are as follows:
Do two 45-minute workouts
One workout must be outdoors
Follow a diet
No alcohol or cheat meals
Drink one gallon of water
Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book
Take a progress pic
Ok, which one sounds the worst to you? Did you immediately respond, oh hell no? Or are you like me and you are a tad intrigued? As any challenge goes, it is surely not for everyone and you should always consult with your physician before starting. I officially started 75 Hard on 1/1/21 so I am still under the 2-week mark at this point. I felt I needed a reset after a year full of stress, starting on a medication that added some unwanted pounds, and a desire to feel some sort of control during these tough days.
A gallon of water is a lot. I don’t always want to go for the walk. It’s currently freezing where I live. Daily progress pics are humbling. But I started for a reason and I sure as heck will finish.
With gyms closing, opening, then closing again (in PA) I felt like I needed to set a plan which wouldn’t have me relying on a facility for my physical activity. I’ve already learned how much I enjoy taking the time to really stretch and get to know yoga a little better. All the activity and sunlight sure has lifted my overall mood. This challenge may be extreme or just a lot, but for me it is the SMART goal I was looking for to start this year off on the right foot.
I plan to update you all and let you know how it’s going. No cons so far, believe it or not. It’s challenging and takes planning, but you could argue that any new lifestyle change, habit, or goal is both of those things. Take a couple of minutes now and think about a generic goal that you would like to achieve. Now, take a couple more minutes and make it SMART. What do you need to do to make your goal come to fruition, not just in the long-run but also in the day-to-day? Write it down. Plan. Get in motion. Do it.
If you set your SMART goal and your timeline is within the next 64 days (I’m on day 11 of 75), you will know someone (me) that is out there chipping away at her goal too. We’re in it together. Let’s go!
Kristen Garron RD, LDN, CDE
Director of Group Education. Kristen joined IDS in 2018 after working for seven years as a clinical dietitian in a community hospital and eight years as lead instructor for a diabetes self-management education company. With a knack for making complex issues seem simple and relating to people with a strong sense of empathy, group diabetes education has become her specialty and her passion. “I think it’s important to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere,” says Kristen. “Everyone at IDS is that way – with patients and with each other. It’s tough enough living with diabetes; the least we can do is make those around us feel like family.” A graduate of LaSalle University (go Explorers!), Kristen majored in Nutrition while earning All- Conference honors in division-1 lacrosse. In keeping with IDS tradition, she remains very active with distance-running and weight-lifting. Kristen lives in West Chester, PA with her husband Tim, daughters Grace & Sadie, and dog Kirby. She enjoys traveling (visited 30 of 50 states and more than a dozen foreign countries so far), scrapbooking, and being outside with the kids and Kirby.