Monday, December 19, 2016

The New Year

“If I continue to think as I have always thought, I will continue to act as I have always acted. If I continue to act as I have always acted, I will continue to get what I have always gotten. Change the thought, changes the behavior and leads to new results”
– Robert Ellis

With the New Year, we often reflect on the past year, set goals and look for ways to make change in the new year. We often make “resolutions” that range from focusing on family, changes in our health, work, how we manage stress, and family and friends.

Reflecting on our past and setting goals is healthy, the desire to change is healthy, and the desire to want better is healthy. When setting these goals or “resolutions” it can be easy to make some lofty or unrealistic ones, however that often will lead to frustration, disappointment and anger in ourselves.

It is important to remember that life is a journey, some days will be a sprint, but most of the time, life is a journey that takes time, thought and being active. Change will take time, it will take effort, and being mindful. If you want different results then you need to change the effort.

How to make your goals or changes stick?
1.Write down your goals. Studies have found that if you write down a goal, you are much more likely to achieve it. In addition, tell as many people as possible about your goals. When you share your goals with others, you are more likely to fulfill them.

2. Establish priorities. If you could only do three activities for the rest of your life, what would they be? Start paring down the activities that are bringing you down. Take a hard look at where you spend your time. Are you getting a return on your investment of your time, money, and energy? Or are you reaching a dead end? We outgrow activities and even people as we have more life experiences. It's not good or bad, it just is. If you are having a difficult time saying "no" to people or activities that no longer serve a purpose for you, see #1 on this list.

3.Make the goal specific
The more specific your goal is, the easier it is to make sure you’re making progress. Instead of “I want to work out more” try “I will run or boke every day for 30 minutes.” Makes it easier to execute and measure.

4. Prepare in Advance. Do not pick your goal the day you want to start or the day before. Spend time in advance picking and thinking about your goal. Research your goal and make a plan.

5. Make an Action Plan. This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you'll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal.

6. Stick With It! Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.

7. Set a date. One of the best ways to knock out a goal is to put it on your calendar. If you put a stake in the ground and impose a date on yourself, you’re much more likely to reach it.

Change can happen. Goals can be achieved. It does not have to be difficult or overwhelming. Focus on your goals and changes one day at time. Be mindful and present. Be engaged in your life and in your goals. You can do it! Celebrate your successes and do not dwell on what you do not succeed at for that day. Tomorrow is a new day!

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