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  • Writer's pictureMary Hansbrough

Resolutions and Goal Setting

Updated: Sep 23, 2018

It is that time of year when we start thinking about our visions for the New Year. Most people start thinking about resolutions such as: get healthy, get organized, live life to the fullest, learn new hobbies, spend less/save more, read more, and travel. According to a poll conducted by YouGov, an online polling company, the most popular New Year's Resolutions for 2018 are as follows:

Eat better — 37 percent

  • Exercise more — 37 percent

  • Spend less money — 37 percent

  • Self-care (e.g. getting more sleep) — 24 percent

  • Read more books —18 percent

  • Learn a new skill — 15 percent

  • Get a new job — 14 percent

  • Make new friends — 13 percent

  • New hobby — 13 percent

  • Focus more on appearance — 12 percent

  • Focus on relationship — 12 percent

  • Cut down on cigarettes/alcohol — 9 percent

  • Go on more dates — 7 percent

  • Focus less on appearance — 3 percent

Resolving to change and improve one's self and life is a big part of transitioning to the new year. However, according to research most new year resolutions are broken within a short period of time. Change can be a very frustrating experience for many of us. Therefore, it is important to understand why you want to make a change.

One common reason why people do not succeed in making lasting change is that they don't create a solid foundation. A person needs to make sure that the behavior is important and they have the belief that they can achieve it. This may sound simple, but often times people attempt to make changes that are important to someone else but not to themselves, or they feel overwhelmed with making the change.

Tips to help you keep your resolutions:

First consider what goals you want to achieve and answer the question, why is this important to you. Once you have an answer, commit to the goal(s) and set SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely) goals.

Start small, for example, if you set exercise as a goal, schedule time starting with 2-3 days instead of seven days/week. Once you have accomplished 2-3 days increase the time. The goal is to build on success and reward yourself for your accomplishments.

Change one behavior at a time. Unhealthy behaviors develop over a period of time. Consequently, it will take time to change the unhealthy behavior and replace it with a healthy behavior. In other words, work on changing one thing at a time in order to be successful at achieving your goal.

Ask for support from your family and friends. Joining a support group with like minded people to help you reach your goals. Having someone such as a coach to share your challenges and successes with is another way to assist you in achieving your goals.

Don't beat yourself up if you have a misstep. Remember that everyone has ups and downs and that is normal. For example, if you ate that ice cream and/or you didn't exercise, don't beat up on yourself. Do not get angry with yourself, setbacks are to be expected and are part of the process. Reflect on what happened and make the necessary changes that will help you to be successful moving forward.

How will you reward/celebrate your victories? Every time you reach a milestone, celebrate or reward yourself in some way. Acknowledge your achievement and incorporate your positive emotions and reflect on the experience.

It is important to remember that the New Year isn't meant to serve as a catalyst for major changes. It is a time for a person to reflect on the past year's behaviors and vow to make positive changes that will move them closer to the life they want. Make small, attainable goals throughout the year instead of big overwhelming goals that set you up for failure.

Did you know?

The custom of making New Year's resolutions has been around for thousands of years. It started with the Babylonians, some 4,000 years ago according to historians.


"The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach." -Benjamin Mays

#Resolutions #Goals #New Year

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