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Fine-Tuning Your New Year's Resolutions

Did you make a resolution for 2023? Are you off to a good start or are you barely keeping up with it? Maybe your goal needs a review.

The top contenders for resolutions tend to involve weight loss, finances and relationships. If you aren't keeping yours the way you had hoped, you're not alone.

Different sources report varying rates of success for New Year's resolutions — but, in the end, the majority of resolutions fail.

If your resolutions usually fall within that category, don’t give up. Even if you didn’t make a resolution this year, it's never too late to take steps toward becoming a healthier, happier you.

Cynthia Hovis, MSW, LCSW, BJC Employee Assistance Program (EAP) supervisor, offers some guidance:

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your resolution to fit you better. Maybe it’s time to start fresh with a new goal or begin researching a different resolution.

Behavior change takes time and practice. It’s a fluid process and should be thought of as a journey, rather than a one-time event. It can help to focus on the positive changes you would like to add to your life to help you reach a healthy life balance, instead of focusing on things not to do.

The trick is to carefully consider your resolutions and choose one SMART goal to focus on. (See more about SMART goals below.)

Here are a few other tips:

  • Make the goal realistic for you and something that you are intrinsically motivated to want.

  • Think about how to measure it in a way that makes it an uplifting feature in your life rather than a way of torturing yourself, which can lead to frustration and discouragement.

  • Break down your goal into small steps and celebrate milestones along the way.

  • Be accountable by letting others know of your goals and encouraging them to celebrate with you.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, allow yourself to be human and have setbacks, relapses and mistakes. You don’t cancel your vacation for a flat tire; you simply address it and keep on going. Why abandon efforts for healthy life changes at the first sign of difficulty?

Life is not an “all-or-nothing exercise” — it is an ever-changing process. Each day is a new beginning, so dust off those resolutions or set new goals.

Here's wishing you a happy and healthy 2023.

More about SMART goals

SMART goals are:

  • Specific — The more specific your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them. For example, don’t just resolve to "get in shape.” Instead, set a goal of walking three days a week, for example. It's specific — and it also provides a way to measure your success.

  • Measurable — If you can't measure your goal, how will you know when you’ve achieved it? If you want to lose weight, for instance, first determine how much weight you'd like to lose. If your ultimate goal is to lose 20 pounds in the New Year, set smaller goals to track your progress along the way. That way, you'll know if you’re staying on track.

  • Attainable — Make sure the goal is within reach. Losing 100 pounds by spring isn’t an attainable goal, but committing to work out three times a week probably is. Choosing goals that are realistic and achievable will help you stay motivated rather than defeated.

  • Realistic — Similar to attainable, the goal must also be “do-able.” Challenge yourself, but make sure the goal isn't so far out of your reach that you’ll get discouraged and quit along the way.

  • Timely — Set a timeframe for your goals. Do you want to lose 50 pounds during 2023? Do you want to lose 1 pound each week? Having deadlines to achieve certain goals holds you accountable.

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