With the New Year quickly approaching you may be thinking what will your New Year’s resolution be this year. Before you waste time thinking about that one important thing you have wanted to accomplish, think about if you accomplished the one you set last year. According to a recent article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 8% of people who actually make a resolution succeed at it. Therefore, my recommendation would be to not set a New Year’s resolution that you are most likely not going to accomplish, but rather to set some goals that are realistic. Honestly, if you have wanted to quit smoking or lose weight for the past X amount of years and have set the same resolution every year, then clearly something is not working for you. Instead I recommend that you think about the past year, thinking of what you have accomplished, and thinking of what you want to accomplish this year. Regardless of it being a new year or not, it is always good to think ahead, think about where you are at the present time, and where you want to be in the future. It is always good to have goals, but several things are important to keep in mind when setting goals because you don’t want to end up like the majority of people who make New Year’s resolutions and not adhere to them. Instead of setting a New Year’s resolution like losing weight, which is actually the number one New Year’s resolution according to the article, set small goals that will help you accomplish your long term goal of losing weight.

Weekly goals or short term goals are very important. Long term goals are great to have, but they can be overwhelming and when things are scary they tend to not get accomplished (like A New Year’s Resolution). Therefore, if you have never run more than a 5K and your long term goal is to run a marathon, then break down that goal. Start with smaller, more realistic, more easily attainable goals. Once you have accomplished a short term goal, you have a sense of accomplishment and have the motivation to continue. If you only set a long term goal (like A New Year’s Resolution), for example, of running a marathon and that takes months of training, then you don’t feel like you have accomplished anything for months and that can be very discouraging.

Now, remember life happens and sometimes your plan may not work. Maybe you got stuck at work and couldn’t leave early enough to do as you planned, maybe you had plans to run outside, but now you can’t due to horrible weather, or maybe you had plans to run or go to the gym with a friend and they cancelled on you. It happens- life happens. So, you need to be able to be flexible, think outside the box, and come up with a new plan at times in order to accomplish your goals. You could easily give up and say something to the extent of “it’s raining and cold”, “I can’t go by myself”, or “tomorrow is another day”, but instead re-examine your goals and find another option. It’s NOT what you CAN NOT do, but rather what you CAN DO. Some times things get in the way, some times there are road blocks, but that is not an excuse to not accomplish your goals. Next time you find yourself at a road block ask yourself what you CAN do….plan, be flexible, tweak your plan, and you WILL accomplish your goal!

Now instead of waiting until December 31st to set that New Year’s Resolution that you have been trying to accomplish for years, set a small, realistic, goal NOW and don’t’ wait another day or another year to get started on your journey of a new healthy life. Remember, small changes make lasting changes.

Write a comment to tell me what your goal is. Telling someone helps you stay accountable. And…Stay tuned for more on goal setting and making plans to make them stick.