By: Dr. Jo Wolthusen

It’s that time of year to embark on a quest for the perfect New Year’s resolution. It can often be a tedious uphill battle to find the perfect one.  How about instead, we discard all of the hype and pressure, and simply set our sites on establishing some healthier habits for the new year and beyond? Here are a few suggestions to hep jump start setting some goals and starting a positive momentum in your life for a healthier new you!

  1. Name it to Claim it

In therapy, people often get caught up in a laundry list of things they “don’t want” ; don’t want to be in an unfulfilling job, I don’t want to be a size (fill in the blank), and on. There are several problems with that mind set.  First, you can’t create a plan for something you are NOT going to do! This barrage of “don’t”s also keeps us stuck in the negativity zone.  Instead, there’s a power and positive energy that we create when we identify exactly what we DO want. So when I proclaim that I am committed to exercising 3 times per week, I can then easily plan for that and work it into my schedule.

2.  Make it “Do-Able”

Set yourself up for success by setting goals that are realistic and manageable,  I often see people set lofty but unrealistic goals like, “I will go to the gym for an hour every day. However, for most people, that can be an unrealistic goal to start with and difficult to manage with their schedules. The result is that people often feel overwhelmed, where couple of missed workouts can be perceived as a failure, and eventually they abandon their goal altogether. Instead, you can start by setting the simple goal of exercising 2-3 times per week.  You could even go further and shoot for only 10 minutes of any kind of movement to start- it could be a walk outside, the treadmill or even dancing to your favorite music.  The point is to set a goal that is attainable.  Success breeds further success! So set yourself up for success from the outset.

3.  Identify All Potential Roadblocks

Make a list of every possible pitfall, distraction and roadblock that may get in the way of you achieving your goal.  List all the excuses that will sabotage your success and be brutally honest! If you know that if you open Facebook or TikTok it will suck an hour of your time, then you won’t exercise.  Instead, I can reward myself with an hour of social media AFTER I finish my workout.  When you are honest with yourself about all of the usual excuses, you minimize their power to sabotage your success and can create a plan to better manage them.

4.  Vision Board

You can add your new goal to a vision board.  This can either be an existing one or create a new vision board specifically for your goal. Name your goal clearly. This is a way to objectify your goal and solidify your intent by “naming it to claim it”,  Have fun with your goal vision board by including inspirational quotes or colorful images.  This will be a positive and constant reminder to aid in visualizing and ultimately realizing your goal.

5.  Celebrate Your Success

Every day that you work toward your goal is a success.  Mark it on a calendar as a visual reminder of your progress.  You can even put a gold star or sticker there! Each day builds on the next where success breeds further success!

Best of luck on your journey to a healthier you!

Cheers to a Happier New Year!