Setting Realistic Resolutions/Goals for the New Year

By on January 6, 2014

By David Novak –

As the New Year approaches, many of us are starting to think about New Year resolutions.The start of the New Year is the perfect time for a fresh start. It’s also a great opportunity to eliminate bad habits and form new routines that will help you grow into a better person. 

A lot of thought should go into your resolutions, since you’re probably changing something major in your life, which can affect you physically, psychologically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. Positive changes, one day at a time, will improve your everyday life. However, resolutions are much easier to make than to keep. Some don’t last long, while other commitments can last a lifetime. Here are some steps that will help you to stick with your goals so you can pave the way for life-long success:

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Choose a specific, realistic goal

When you are setting goals, make sure that they are within your reach. Always be mindful of several factors, which can affect you achieving your goals.  These can include schedules, personal affairs, and finances. It’s better to set realistic goals.  For example, if it’s something like walking instead of driving, start by doing it once a week.  If you’re trying to quit smoking, start slow and ramp up over the course of a few weeks. You can always increase your targets once you’re starting to get used to it.

Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve

Planning is an essential part of achieving your goals. Start by creating a timeline with steps toward reaching your goal. You can also set deadlines and “mini goals” to get where you want to be. Seeing your goal (or goals) come to light the closer you get to them is rather satisfying and motivating. It also allows you to foresee any upcoming obstacles, giving you time to plan on how to overcome them.

Start with small steps

Taking on too much is one of the reasons why many New Year’s resolutions fail. Overdoing exercises in the gym or dramatically slashing calories in your diet are a few goals that will surely backfire on your plans. Making a small start is far better than starting big but unable to attain an end. If you eventually want to run a marathon, you could start by jogging 2-3 times a week, adjusting your pace until long-distance running is easier for you.

Believe in yourself

Always stay positive regarding your progress. Always bear in mind that you are doing this for yourself and no one else. If you’re unable to stick to your goals, you don’t need to wait until next January to rectify it. You can either start from where you left off or set a more achievable objective than before.

Don’t let small setbacks lose your focus

Experiencing few setbacks is common, but don’t make it as an excuse to stop. Always remember that we are all human, and making mistakes is already part of our nature. It doesn’t do any good to get depressed or stressed out over failures. The best thing we can do is to look at setbacks as opportunities for learning. Perseverance is the key to overcoming failures and strengthening your resolution.

Avoid repeating past failures

Another strategy that could keep your goals intact is trying not to make the same resolution year after year. If you do choose to reach for the same goal as before, try to evaluate things like why it was unattainable before, and what is different in you now where that same goal can be achievable. Layout plans and strategies that are proven effective and change your approach in overcoming unforeseen obstacles.

Get support from family and friends

You may have probably heard this a million times, but having someone to support you in reaching your goals can definitely help you to stay on track. Having a solid support system can also keep you motivated. You can also ask a friend or a family member to be your “resolution buddy”, so that when one of you feels like giving up, the other can push you back on track and keep you accountable.

Celebrate success by rewards

Always acknowledge your achievements, even the smallest ones. Reaching a goal takes a lot of hard work and you should be proud of what you are doing and what you’ve done. Treating yourself to a reward makes you more enthusiastic in reaching your other goals, and it also helps you to stay focused. For example, you can reward yourself with a manicure or a massage as this will help you to relax and unwind after all of your hard work.

David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest and GQ Magazine, among others.  David is a health and diet enthusiast, and frequently writes on a wide array of health topics for various publications, including regular editions appearing in  For more of his Healthline articles, visit http://www.healthline

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Setting Realistic Resolutions/Goals for the New Year