Achieve your New Years goals one step at a time

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By Adrianna Ratajska

Angus & Phil New YearIn the glowing excitement of welcoming the New Year, it is easy to make ambitious goals and resolutions that we genuinely plan to stick with throughout the year.

This is the time we look forward to for a fresh start, a time to reflect on our aspirations and what we want to accomplish in our lives.

Yet, as January is coming to a close, the goal that seemed very realistic a couple of weeks ago may be starting to seem like it’s not as attainable now.

Instead of admitting defeat, break the reoccurring cycle of failed resolutions and make 2014 the year you follow through with your goals. Here are some tips to help you stay true to your ambitions.

First, make an adjustment to your mindset rather than just your behavior. Instead of focusing on stopping bad habits, think of them as learning to do things in a new way.

Among the top New Year’s resolutions people make year after year is to lose weight. We all know that in order to get in shape we must exercise more, eat less and make healthier choices.

The difficult task is learning to think differently. Your attitude will be one of the most important factors in determining your success — whether or not you believe (and keep on believing) that you can make the changes you need to make.

What you think affects how you feel and in turn affects the actions you take.

Once you’ve reframed your mindset, seek social support. Humans are social creatures. Our behaviors are greatly influenced by peer pressure and the behaviors of those around us.

Try finding someone else with the same goal or someone who already does what you’re aiming to do.

If you surround yourself with positive influences and know that someone other than yourself is holding you accountable for your actions, you’ll be more likely to follow through.

Rely on your friends and family to support you in your resolutions, and do the same for them.

It is important to make sure your objectives are doable and realistic. When our goals are so huge that the sheer thought of them is intimidating, we can quickly back out.

Educate yourself about what is likely achievable and what isn’t. There are plenty of helpful resources online about managing your debt, getting fit and improving your relationships, among many other things. Educating yourself could be very valuable in keeping your resolutions.

One of the most beneficial ways to stay motivated is creating a plan and bring specific. Many resolutions that fail are outlined too generally to bring success. Instead of having a goal like “getting organized,” plan out exactly how you’re going to do it and when.

Make a specific timeline of what you want to accomplish. By doing this, you are both implanting the idea in your head and making it harder to postpone your good behavior.

Outline your plan. Decide exactly how you are going to resist that giant slice of chocolate cake and how you will instead propel yourself to go to the gym.

It’s very important to realize that perfection is impossible. Many people start out having much success with their New Year’s resolutions, and then a few weeks into January, they cave and reach for that cigarette or splurge on that new pair of heels.

It is crucial to understand that this is not an excuse to return to old behaviors. When we learn to do something new, making mistakes along the way is inevitable.

Instead of accepting that you’re doomed for failure, power through the setback and think of all the good things you are doing.

Finally, reward yourself for your successes. Keep track of each small accomplishment along the way and you will be propelled to attain more victories. Celebrate by treating yourself to something that doesn’t contradict your resolution.

Even the smallest achievements deserve celebration. This will keep you excited about the overall goal and cause you to have positive associations with it.

Keep these few simple tips in mind and you may be on your way to a healthy and happy 2014 full of growth and discovery.

Pursue your resolutions with open arms and have faith in yourself and what you can accomplish.

Remember, this is the time of year to not only make changes, but to also be thankful for everything and everyone you already have in your life.

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