QJ Health: New Year, New Goals

If done properly, the beginning of a new year offers a great opportunity for a fresh, successful start.

Remember that you define success. If your resolution is to improve your grade point average from a 3.0 to a 3.7, does a 3.5 count as a success? I think it does.

Here are some tips to help you have the greatest chance possible at achieving your resolution.

Make it specific

The huge, open-ended resolutions are the ones that are most likely to fail — lose weight, save more money, eat healthier, do better in school, etc. These resolutions are terrifying in their size and need to be scaled down. You wouldn’t try and eat a burger all in one bite, right?

Your resolution needs to be realistic for your lifestyle. If your overall goal is to lose weight, make it your resolution to get your butt to the ARC three days of the week. Pared down, this idea becomes less intimidating and more achievable.

The huge idea of eating healthier can be cut down to only eating dessert one night of the week or only drinking alcohol on weekends. Doing better in school can be reduced to making sure that you stay on top of weekly readings or resolving not to skip class.

In each case, giant goals can be whittled down into more realistic ones you’re more likely to keep.

Tell someone

Use your support network to help you along the way and offer the same help to your friends. Chances are, you have at least one friend who will be on board to join you at a weekly yoga class or a housemate that wants to make healthier meals together.

Studies have shown that telling other people about our goals motivates us more than if we keep them to ourselves.

Not keen on sharing? Write it down and that way you’re at least accountable to a paper version of yourself.

Think beyond traditional resolutions

You don’t need to lose weight, eat healthier or be smarter and richer just because those are popular resolutions. At this time of year, there’s a lot of pressure on resolutions with regard to appearance and societal expectations.

How about making a resolution to meditate for five minutes when you wake up each morning? Or resolving to try and make at least one person smile each day? These are both worthwhile and admirable resolutions, but the kind that tends to get lost in our current material-focused society.

Check in

It can be easy to make a resolution, let it fall by the wayside and then, eventually, let it go. If you keep an agenda, write yourself a note once every week or two.

This can help you remember why your resolution was important to you in the first place, as well as the little steps you’ve planned to get yourself there.

Don’t have an agenda? Try using the calendar app on your phone to set reminders.

Be positive

Stay optimistic about your own resolutions, but also those of others. I’m guilty of complaining about the packed ARC in January, but if those are people trying to make a positive change, who am I to criticize?

Try and support your friends and family in whatever goals they have set, whether or not you think they are realistic.

Similarly, be understanding of yourself through the ups and downs of your own resolution. Things don’t always go up in a straight line, but if you stick with your plan, you can achieve big things.

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