It is estimated that only 8% of people who make new years resolutions actually keep them. The reason is that many people make unrealistic goals for themselves. We need to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight- it takes effort, hard work, dedication, and a strong “why” behind your goals and resolutions.

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There are lots of things people can do to be successful, but here are a few of my favorite Do’s and Don’ts to help you go into 2017 on a high note.

Reflection. You can’t move forward without reflecting on your progress and pitfalls of the past. What caused you to derail from your goals? What worked and what didn’t? Were your goals realistic (we will talk more about this in #2)? It may sound corny, but a journal is a great way to reflect on your year, even if it is just bullet points.

Make S.M.A.R.T. goals. SMART goals are designed to set yourself up for success and are used in a lot of different settings. Here is how to create a SMART goal;

  1. Specific-
    • What do I want to accomplish?
    • Why is this goal important?
    • Who is involved?
    • Where is it located?
    • Which resources or limits are involved?
  2. Measurable- A measurable goal should address questions such as:
    • How much?
    • How many?
    • How will I know when it is accomplished?
  3. Achieveable-
    • How can I accomplish this goal?
    • How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as time, money, etc.?
  4. Relevant-
    • Does this seem worthwhile?
    • Is this the right time?
  5. Time-Bound – this is your target goal.
    • When?
    • What can I do six months from now?
    • What can I do six weeks from now?
    • What can I do today?

It’s what takes you from “I want to lose five pounds in two weeks” to “I will lose five pounds in two weeks by reducing my soda intake and increasing my walking to 30 minutes, five days per week.”

Get an Accountability Partner. Whether it’s someone who has similar goals or just someone who can keep you on track, find someone you trust to keep you from giving up on your goals. It can be as simple and telling someone your goals out loud or posting your progress on a blog, social media ,etc. to as much as committing to complete your goals with someone else, such as going to the gym 4x/week with your accountability partner, meal planning and sending each other photos each week, loosing 20 pounds together and celebrating with a fun trip, etc., etc.

Dig Deep and Find what Motivates You… TRULY MOTIVATES YOU. This is the “why”, which is the reason you will reach your goals. Make sure it is something that is very important to you. For example, you might want to run a marathon this year in memory of a family member that lost a battle with cancer or lose weight because you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. Maybe it’s as simple as wanting to be happier with your partner, so you set goals to spend more time together each week. Try making a vision board or place motivational quotes, pictures, etc. in visible places to remind yourself of your goals every day.

Get into a routine. Routine is key to staying on track. I know that life gets hectic and it’s not always realistic, but strive to be as consistent as possible. Going to bed and waking up around the same time each day (yes, even on weekends) is a healthy practice to ensure that you are getting quality sleep. Our body heals itself while we sleep which improves immunity, mood, attention span, and much more. Try to also eat your meals around the same time each day and at consistent intervals to keep your blood sugar stable and avoid overeating.

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