January of 2017 is underway, New Year’s resolutions have been made, and now is the time to get down to the business of keeping them. Keeping resolutions is, of course, the most challenging part. Life can get busy and old habits die hard, but here are 6 tips to help you reach your goals.

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Tip #1 – If you have a long list, pare it down to a more manageable size. Trying to achieve too many things at once can be a recipe for failure. Set yourself up for success by starting with a shorter list (no more than 3) of more meaningful goals.

Tip #2 – You may have one big goal for 2017. Breaking your big goal into smaller steps can make it feel more achievable and boost your confidence along the way as you reach each milestone. For example if your goal is to eat healthier, start by focusing on one habit you can change like eating a balanced breakfast or packing lunch instead of eating out.

Tip #3 – Use your resources and create a support system. Doctors, counselors, nutritionists, and personal trainers can help you make specific, realistic, and healthy goals and support you on your journey to achieving them. It can also be great to have an accountability partner or a friend working with you.

Tip #4 – Anticipate potential challenges you might face and create a plan of action for when they arise. When you come across a bump in the road, you will be more able to take it in stride without a pause! Don’t just think about these, write them down so you can easily refer back them.

Tip #5 – Journal your progress, even the small things because change can be subtle. A written record can help you see the small changes adding up as you go. Your journal can be great motivation when the going gets rough and a therapeutic way to discover and work through any emotional challenges that might be part of the experience.

Tip #6 – If you get off track don’t give up. Getting off track does not mean you’ve failed or that you will never reach your goal. You can always start again, and now you’ve had some practice working toward your goals. You’ve also experienced what it’s like to come up against a challenge and can be better prepared next time. Go back to tip #3 and call on your resources and support system to help you get back on track. Starting again can be empowering.

New Year’s resolutions can be exciting. As you work towards achieving your goals you will likely make new friends and learn valuable lessons about yourself. Keep your eye on the prize but enjoy and value the journey as well, because you are doing something wonderful for yourself. Life doesn’t begin at the magic moment when you reach your goal, it happens all along the way. Best wishes to you on your 2017 New Year’s resolution journey.

References

  1. Smith L. (2012). 10 tips to help you keep your new year’s resolution. Retrieved from http://life.gaiam.com/article/10-tips-help-you-keep-your-new-year-s-resolution

By Holly & Flannery, Bastyr interns

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