NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


| Share

Starting a New Year with a New Goal

Starting a New Year with a New Goal


                The start of a new year is the perfect time to turn a new page, which is probably why so many people create New Year's Resolutions. A new year often feels like a fresh start, a great opportunity to eliminate bad habits and establish new routines.   Of course, resolutions are much easier to make than to keep and by the end of January many of us have abandoned our resolve and settled back into our old patterns. Following are several tips for success with your resolutions.


Choose a Specific, Realistic Goal

Instead of selecting such an ambiguous goal, focus on something more concrete that you can realistically set your sights on. For example, you might commit to losing 10 pounds or running a mini-marathon. Choosing a concrete, achievable goal also gives you the opportunity to plan exactly how you are going to accomplish your goal over the course of the year.


Pick Just One Resolution

While you might have a long list of potential New Year's Resolutions, you will greatly increase you chance of success if you select just one and focus your energies on it. By spreading yourself too thin among a number of different objectives, you are more likely to experience disappointment in one area and then lose initiative for all the resolutions.


Start With Small Steps

Dramatically slashing calories, over-doing it at the gym, or radically altering your normal behavior are sure-fire ways to derail your plans. Instead, focus on taking tiny steps that will ultimately help you reach your larger goal. If you've resolved to run a marathon, start out by going for a jog two or three times a week. While it may seem like a slow start, these small changes make it easier to stick to your new habits and increase the likelihood of long-term success.


Remember That Change Is a Process

Those unhealthy habits that you are trying to change probably took years to develop, so changing them in just a few days, weeks, or months is highly unlikely. It may take longer than you would like to achieve your goals, but remember that this is not a race to the finish. Once you have made the commitment to changing a behavior, it is something that you will continue to work on for the rest of your life.


Ask for Support

Having a solid support system can help you stay motivated. Explain what your goals are to your close friends or family and ask them to help you achieve your objectives. Better yet, enlist the help of others by joining a group that shares your goal.


Keep Working on Your Goals

By February, many people have lost that initial spark of motivation that they felt immediately after making their New Year's Resolution. Keep that inspiration alive by continuing to work on your goals, even after facing setbacks. If your current approach is not working, reevaluate your strategies and develop a new plan.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.