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  • Lisa McMichael

Successful New Year's Goals

Start earlier or later, but start....

The obstacles that prevented you from reaching your goals in the previous year do not magically disappear at midnight on January 1st. Many people

start afresh only to find that the same reasons their goal was not reached the prior year are still snagging their success. Start your goals earlier, such as December 1st for January 1st. Assess any blocks that are hindering your behavior towards your goals. Dissolving obstacles takes some attention and time. Reaching goals often involves changing several things in our life, and change takes time. Don’t give up if you find you are not reaching your goals – reassess and start again. It is great to start the new year with goals, but you can start or re-start anytime.

Make your goals a priority

One reason I failed in the past to reach my goals is that I did not allow my goals to be a priority in my life. Like many busy moms, my kids have always been first, and my needs last. This school year I drive my daughter to school in the morning. Because of this, I have time between dropping her off and going to work and so I joined the YMCA. I had not exercised in over 30 years, and I would have never started if I was not taking my daughter to school. Kids and family should be first in your life, but don’t make your goals last. You deserve to take the time and energy to reach your goals.

Make a commitment to reach your goals

Do you really want to achieve the goals you developed? What do you really want in your life? Take some time to really search your soul and decide what you like in your life (and want more OF), and what you want to change. You may want to change, but are you willing to do what it takes to reach your goal? How important are your goals to you? Do you live your life with an awareness that your body is the only one you will ever have? Do you cherish the relationships in your life that nourish you?

Make your goals SMART

Be SMART in developing your goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Action-orientated, Realistic, and Time bound. For example, if you want to lose weight, you develop a SMART goal around losing weight. Losing weight is the goal, but doesn’t detail the steps to reach it. It is similar to deciding to travel to New York City, but never arranging when you leave, where you are going, and accommodations. Applying SMART to losing weight means that you decide how much weight you want to lose each week, how you will accomplish the goal (I will work out for one hour three times, cook a healthy meal for dinner four nights out of seven, and eliminate soda), make sure goals are realistic (lose 3 pounds in one month), and time specific (I will lose 10 pounds in 3 months).

Realize new behavior involves lifestyle changes

Most goals involve making several behavior changes. In the above example, if you cut out processed food, you are going to have to cook. If you are going to cook, you have to go to the grocery store and buy fresh food. Then you are going to have to take time to prepare the food (this is beginning to sound like the book “if you give a mouse a cookie”). The point is that the accomplishment of a goal such as eating healthier food involves many different steps that require time, planning, and implementation. Changing your lifestyle requires a lot of work – but aren’t you worth it??

Support is imperative!

I feel the most strongly about this step. You dramatically increase the chances of reaching your goal when you make a commitment that you share with others. Declare the details of reaching your goal to others. Most importantly, find support, such as a buddy who shares your goals. Make a mutual commitment with your buddy that you will help each other reach your goals. You may want to exercise together, cook together, etc. Develop a plan that works for both of you. Communicate your successes or failures at least weekly. Problem solve the failures together, and develop a plan to dissolve the obstacles. Recently at my toastmaster meeting, a member stood up and said her New Year’s resolution was to not eat any sugar, as she was eating a sugary treat after every meal. I need to cut my sugar intake also, and have struggled with this for the last five years. In the past I had tried to be accountable to a friend, but never followed through. I asked the toastmaster member to partner with me on the no sugar goal, and we developed a way to be accountable to each other weekly.

Recognize the sabotages

Often we sabotage our success, or have others who sabotage our success, even when we consciously really want to reach our goals. It is frustrating and confusing. If others are trying to sabotage your success, recognize the pattern and determine what you need to do to extricate yourself from the negative influence. The other person may not even be aware of what they are doing. If you find yourself sabotaging yourself, congratulate yourself for noticing that your goals are not consistent with your behavior. We frequently hold unconscious beliefs that conflict with our conscious goals, because of our subconscious programming that we assimilate] growing up. For example, one may sabotage the goal of losing weight, if your mother frequently criticized you whenever you felt you looked good. Excellent resources exist to help dissolve unconscious blocks. I recommend energy psychology techniques BSFF (Be Set Free Fast) and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping), and/or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). Find a therapist trained in one or more the above techniques to help you. There is also extensive information on EFT available on the internet that can help you use tapping on your own.

Finally, never give up on your goals. True failure only occurs when you never try. If you find yourself failing, step back, evaluate the roadblocks, and develop a plan to dissolve them. If you persevere, and follow the above suggestions, you will eventually reach every one of your goals.

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