Happy New Year + SMARTer Resolutions

New-Year_Resolutions_list

Happy New Year everyone! Whether you were relaxing at home or out on the town, I hope you had a wonderful New Year and holiday season. I had an amazing vacation with Jared to Vegas and Dallas (two cities that always go together!) We gambled a little, saw Jerry Seinfeld, ate a lot of delicious food, and caught up with friends. It can be hard to get back into the swing of things after a long time off, but I’m so excited to be back on my blog, back at work, and back to my normal workout routine.

With 2015 finally here, it seems like everyone is talking about New Year’s Resolutions and I’m no exception.

It can be tempting to make sweeping resolutions like “be a better friend” or “eat healthy and exercise” but I’ve always found that being specific with my resolutions (and goals in general) is the best way to keep them. One easy way to think about resolutions is to ask yourself if they’re SMART. SMART is an acronym that’s often used in project management, but it can really be used for any type of goal. It stands for:

S – specific

M – measurable

A – achievable

R – results focused

T – time bound

If your resolutions fit these criteria, you’re off to a great start! If not, how can you break them down so that they’re SMARTer?

Jared and I decided to start of the year on a physically clean slate by cutting out caffeine and alcohol for the first two weeks of the year. Depending on how our bodies feel at the end of two weeks, we may add them back into our diets, but in a more limited way. I’ve decided to challenge myself a step further and cut out added sugar for the two weeks, as well. The American Heart Association suggests women have no more than 25 grams of sugar a day which is surprisingly low. It’s going to be tough, but my goal is to stick to 25 grams daily for two weeks and see how I feel at the end of it.

This resolution is:

Specific – cut down on sugar

Measurable – 25 grams a day

Achievable – It will be tough, but it’s totally in my control

Results Focused – By January 19th, I’ll hopefully have less sugar cravings and more energy

Time Bound – 2 weeks

What are some of your resolutions for 2015? Are they SMART?

Do Before and After Photos Make You Feel Better or Worse?

If you look up practically anything fitness or health related on Pinterest, you’ll be bombarded with images of women with incredibly perfect bodies. Beautifully tanned and chiseled and often accompanied by a ‘before’ picture. The same can be found on gym, diet, and weight-loss pill advertisements. Many people find these pictures inspiring and motivating – that seeing someone go from point A to point B makes them feel like, ‘Hey, I can do that too!’

Personally, I waver on my opinion. I worry that comparing myself to the people in these images will create false expectations and lead to failure. I know that the pictures don’t show the full story – like the cost benefit ratio of getting that awesome body or the extreme lifestyle changes the person probably had to make besides just food and exercise. And I know that Photoshop and camera tricks can manipulate pretty much any image. On the other hand, they can be motivating because I assume that not EVERY image is fake and that people CAN change.

I was inspired to write this entry by the video below (from Buzzfeed.com). Take a look and let me know what you think. Do these types of before and after photos make you feel better about yourself or worse? Do they motivate you or have the opposite effect? I’d love to hear your opinions.