Get Realistic

Get Realistic in the New Year

- Jenn Gill

The concept of making a New Year's resolution is interesting to me. A new year is about as clean of a slate as you can get. Throw away the old year and look forward to the prospect of a new one. There is nothing more motivating than starting fresh. And there is no better way to stay motivated that setting goals for ourselves. Setting goals gives us something to focus on and work towards. While it makes sense to have a goal for the year, it is important to keep those goals easily accessible.

Most of the time our goals are pretty vague - lose weight, be more active, quit smoking, get rid of debt - the list goes on and on. If you really think about it, while these goals are great, they are also huge. Big goals are wonderful to have but they're also really daunting. Waking up on January 1st with the goal of losing weight, for example, is so overwhelming, you might as well just go back to bed. How on earth can we be expected to reach such lofty goals without some sort of game plan?

A good strategy to making a New Year's resolution, or any goal for that matter, is to start small and build your way up to a big one. That way it is a little easier that starting with one huge goal that may be daunting and unreachable right away. When a goal seems too hard to do, such as cutting out all sweets, it gets overwhelming. We may be successful at first, but once that first temptation comes, or we get sidetracked somehow, we can't get back on track. We can't reach that goal, and when we can't reach it, we may get discouraged and give up all together.

For instance, if you really want to lose some weight, start out by taking a look at your eating and physical activity habits. A good way to do this, before even trying to watch your weight or be more active is to keep a food and physical activity journal. Write down everything you eat and all the activities you take part in over a two week period to get an idea of regular habits. Once you know where your trouble spots are, you can take small steps to reach your larger goal of losing weight. If you drink a lot of sugary drinks, for example, one small step would be cutting out one or two sugary sodas per day.

An important aspect to reaching a goal is to know when it is time to ask for help. Hiring a nutritionist to develop better eating habits, for example, may be better than trying to figure it out on your own. Seeing a financial planner to help you learn ways to save money and pay off debts can help you be more financially secure. That initial investment will pay off in the long run. If your goal is to start a running routine, a good place to start is one of our No Boundaries Coach to 5K training programs. We'll help you find your way to a 5K. Already an experienced runner? Sign up for a goal race you've always thought about doing and it will help keep you motivated!

Being successful isn't just about reaching those huge goals. That first step is often the hardest to take. Just making the decision to start takes courage, but one step turns into two and before you know it, you've reached your goals. And then another smaller goal is reached, then another and before long, you've reached that huge goal and far surpassed everything you thought was possible.

Think of it this way: we all have to start somewhere. There is nothing wrong with taking small steps to accomplish a larger goal. There is more success in taking our time and actually doing what we set out to do, than in jumping in head first, failing and giving up.

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