7 Steps to New Year’s Goal Success

Let’s cut straight to the chase – New Year’s Resolutions get a bit of a bad rap. From failed diets, to putting down nicotine, to the quest for more family time, the Resolution finds far more failure than victory. While it’s true that New Year’s Day is really just the same as any other day in your life, it’s possible to use the turning of a new year as a catalyst for change.

The important thing is to think of your “resolution” as a jumping-off point as opposed to the beginning of a brand new life. Being realistic about your goals, as well as implementing practices that help encourage those goals, can go a long way in helping you complete them. In this final blog entry before the clock strikes “2015,” we’ll take a look at 7 steps to helping you realize your goals for the New Year!

1. One at a Time
Many times, we will find ourselves falling short of goals simply because we’ve set too many of them. Losing 25 pounds, letting go of caffeine dependence, getting more exercise, spending more volunteer hours…these are all great goals. But if you try to start each of these at the same time, you are much less likely to see success in all of them. Instead, work your goals out one at a time. Choose the one that will take the most effort and work on that goal first. Add another goal as the year goes by, and then another when you complete that one. This brings us to our next tip –

2. Make a Plan
Imagine taking a cross-country road trip. Let’s say you’re starting in Wilmington, North Carolina and you’re heading all the way to Portland, Oregon. This certainly isn’t the sort of drive you can just wing. You’d need a map, you’d need to know how much fuel you’ll have to purchase, you’d need to know where you could stop to sleep, you’d need to know the cost of hotel rooms along the way, you’d have to get an idea of where you could stop for food. In the same way, making changes to your life is a sort of journey. Set yourself up for success by making a plan. Think about your long-term destination, and think about all the little goals you’ll have to reach along the way. Keep in mind you’ll need to fuel your journey as well as making sure you’re taking care of yourself. A good plan doesn’t only exist in your mind. In fact, you’re way more likely to succeed if you –

3. Write It Down
The physical act of writing down your plan tells your subconscious mind that you mean business. Don’t just jot them down on your computer and send them to the printer. Instead, take the time to write your goals down in your own handwriting. Commit to paper the plan you’ve made and review it regularly. While this step of the process will help you to stay on track, accountability is also a huge help in seeing goals to fruition. With that in mind, it’s important that you –

4. Talk About It
Once you’ve sorted your goals, made a plan, and committed it to paper, another great practice is to talk about your journey. Get your friends and family excited about your goals and involve them in any way you can. If your brother decides he could benefit from a little more physical exercise, commit to walking the park with him once a week. If your neighbors are excited about the community service you’re planning to do, ask them to join you in organizing a food drive. This accountability can really help along the way as you can rely on support from your loved ones. And while a support system will help you take the steps you need, it’s important to remember that your journey is about –

5. Progress, Not Perfection
While some of us can skate through our plans with nary a detour, most of us should expect a few speed bumps along the way. If you deviate from your plan, remember that it’s okay. Get yourself back on track by remembering the progress you’ve already made – even if it’s only been a day! When we “fall off the wagon,” or “back step,” the temptation is to throw hands up and walk away. But don’t fall into the trap of perfection. If you do get stuck, it’s okay. Just remember to –

6. Know When You Need Help
If you find yourself in over your head, remember that this is NOT the end. There’s no reason for you to feel embarrassed or overwhelmed. Detours will happen, and when they do, it’s just a matter of correction. However, if you need help, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. Talk to your friends and family and ask them to help keep you accountable. Whether it’s a matter of redoubling an effort or just tightening up your routine, an accountability partner should help you get back on track. On that note, it’s also so important to –

7. Celebrate Milestones
In the same way we would plot out that cross-country trip with a few stops along the way, you should never pass a milestone without celebration! If you were looking to change your exercise regiment, and two months in this new plan is now just part of your routine – celebrate it. If you were looking to do more volunteer work in your community and a backpack drive was a huge success – celebrate it. If you’re down 25 pounds a bit ahead of schedule – celebrate it. Now, it should be noted that a weight-loss celebration should probably not be celebrated with a layer cake and ice cream, but treating yourself to a movie, a spa day, a new putter, a day-trip to the next city north, or that new gadget you’ve had your eyes on is a great way to reinforce your small successes.

At Contemporary Health Center, it’s no secret that our mission is to help you look and feel your best. While you’re making plans for 2015, we’d love to know how we can help. From Medi Weight-Loss to our aesthetic services to our health and beauty products, CHC is committed to helping you be the best “you!” As 2014 comes to a close, we’d like to thank each of you for being a part of the Contemporary Health Center family.

Here’s to making 2015 your best year ever!