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STICKING WITH YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
F or most of us, our ability to stick to our New Year’s resolutions probably starts out strong, but ends up pretty weak. For whatever reason, when February rolls around (or even Jan. 2, in some cases), it just becomes harder and harder to follow through on whatever goals we set for ourselves. With that in mind, these tips and tricks are proven ways I’ve found that can help you stay true to your resolutions all year long. SET GOALS WITH CARE If you have multiple goals, give one or two of them priority over the others. Whichever ones you do put at the top of your resolution to-do list, make sure they’re goals you can actually complete. For example, instead of setting a primary goal to lose 30 pounds, start by saying you’ll bring a healthy lunch to work three days a week instead of getting takeout. FRAME GOALS WITH CARE Don’t create goals that have contingencies out of your control. Say you create for yourself the lofty goal of finishing in the top 10 of a road race you really want to run. While this is an admirable goal, it doesn’t work very well as a New Year’s resolution because it’s not a goal completely within your control. A lot of other people might have that goal as well, and you’ll be competing against their drive and willpower, along with your own. Choose goals where the only person you’re trying to beat is your former self. If you stick with it, that’s a race you’ll be able to win every time.
BEGIN WITH BABY STEPS Your goals might look pretty
goals, health and fitness goals, etc. The clarity this categorization provides can also keep the momentum going.
daunting on Jan. 1. That’s why it’s wise to break those goals down into small, measurable baby steps. Say you want to sell your house sometime during the year, and you want to make your property ready for showings. There’s a lot of tasks that need to be done, but if you start by doing one thing each day, like pruning the bushes, or picking the exterior paint color, you’ll be amazed by how fast you’ll reach your goal! WRITE DOWN A GAME PLAN Schedule when you’ll get all those baby steps done so you can enter each day with a clear idea of how to contribute to reaching your goal. For example: 1. On Tuesday: Drive by houses in the neighborhood and look at exterior paint colors. 2. On Wednesday: Get paint samples from hardware store. 3. On Thursday: Sit down with your spouse and narrow down the list of paint colors. 4. On Friday: Select the final color. KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING Nothing encourages you to keep going more than looking back on all you’ve accomplished. Make it a part of your day to review your list of baby steps and check off what you’ve completed. The satisfaction you feel will spur you forward toward reaching your overarching goal. As an extra step, I’ve always found it helpful to categorize my goals when I write them down into professional goals, family goals, spiritual
BE POSITIVE, AND KEEP QUIET AROUND NAYSAYERS Having a positive outlook is key to
successfully accomplishing your New Year’s resolutions. Positive thinkers never let small defeats or shortcomings bring them down. If they skip a workout, they don’t think “Man, I missed a workout.” They think, “I made all but one workout this week — and next week, I’ll do all of them.” It’s also important to surround yourself with friends and family who believe in you instead of people who don’t think you can accomplish your goals. You don’t want them sabotaging your efforts. FIND A COACH While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a coach, having someone to work with you toward your goals and hold you accountable to them is invaluable. This could be a personal trainer, a life coach, or a financial planner, depending on the goal. Even a family member or a really close friend can help hold you accountable. I wish all of you the best of luck in accomplishing your resolutions! Follow these tips, and you can’t go wrong. Happy New Year! –Dr. Chris Garner
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