The beginning of a new year brings with it the sense of a fresh start and new opportunities.  Setting goals for the upcoming year, while a popular trend, is notorious for failure and disappointments.  Of course, not everyone fails at their new year’s resolutions.  Much to the exasperation of their friends and family, some manage to keep their resolutions year after year. 

Are these goal-achievers just more disciplined and strong-willed than the rest of us?  Some are, perhaps.  But most just have a better understanding of how to stay on track when the initial excitement and motivation wears off.  More importantly, these successful goal setters tend to be better at setting realistic goals to begin with.  For those of us who struggle a bit, here are 5 tips to get you started on setting some realistic goals this year… and how to stick to them.

Brainstorm Your Resolutions
Set aside time to sit down and think about the upcoming year. This can be a great way to organize your thoughts and set realistic expectations.  It’s critical to take some time to slow down and review what goals you’ve achieved in the last year, what goals you haven’t, as well as to plan out how you’re going to approach the new year.  You may find you just need to make some slight adjustments, or perhaps you’ll discover that you want to make some radical changes in your life.
Plan Your Development
It’s easy to think of the big goals that we’d like to achieve, but often those goals are too big to be approached as one big step.  Breaking your goals down into achievable chunks and setting realistic milestones is a critical way to stay motivated and understand your progress.  If you try to tackle your goals all at once, you’re likely to get discouraged and quit even if you’re making good progress.

Write Your Goals Down
A mental note is hardly a resolution.  Once you’ve brainstormed your ideas and broken them down into achievable goals, be sure to write it all down.  Find creative ways to remind yourself of your goals throughout the day.  Even a simple post-it note on the bathroom mirror can be an effective tool for keeping yourself on track. Another great tool is to use your phone to set daily reminders.

Set Milestone Markers
Don’t wait until the end of the year to review the goals you’ve set.  Add some milestone dates to your calendar and set aside time to review the goals you’ve set and make adjustments. These times of reflection and assessment are key to staying on track and ultimately achieving what you set out to do.

Be Flexible, but Don’t Quit
It’s easy to get discouraged if you miss a milestone or start falling behind.  It’s critical to use these milestones to adjust your expectations and get back on track.  Making adjustments doesn’t mean you’ve failed your goals, even if your progress doesn’t come as quickly as you’d like or you start falling back into old habits.  Change takes time, and stumbling is part of the process. Perseverance is key. You can do this!

How about a resolution to improve your health this year?  Schedule your annual checkup today and start the year off right with a conversation about your health and how we can help you to achieve your goal here at Unger Primary Care.