By Jeanette Arnold, MSW, LCSW, ACSW
‘Tis the season! The holidays are over, you’ve rung in the new year and now it’s time to make your resolutions.
Not sure what goals to choose for 2017? Experts suggest planning manageable positive lifestyle changes for the new year instead of major life overhauls that set you up for disappointment. People who make realistic resolutions are more likely to keep those promises throughout the year.
University adjunct professor Judy Lubin, PhD, author of “The Heart of Living Well: Six Principles for a Life of Health, Beauty and Balance,” advises: “Before trying to implement a new workout or nutrition routine, identify exactly what it means to you. Eating healthy may be as simple as ensuring you’re consuming fiber at every meal. Working out could be as intense as spending no less than two hours every day at the gym.”
It’s important to have an action plan to prevent obstacles and setbacks that stand in the way of accomplishing your goals. Make sure to focus on the most important relationship and person in your life -- you.
Here are tips on how to set attainable goals:
Start small. Make promises you can keep. Rather than make a resolution to exercise every day, aim to get to the gym three days a week. Instead of overhauling your entire diet, try replacing sugary treats with healthier options, like fruit.
Take a gradual approach. Making lifestyle changes takes time. Don't expect miracles overnight. Try replacing one unhealthy behavior at a time.
Don't go it alone. Talking about your resolutions and finding support can help you reach your goals. Try forming a group or take a class with others who have common goals. Having support and being able to talk about your struggles can make sticking to your resolutions less overwhelming.
Give yourself a break. No matter how hard people try, no one achieves perfection. Don't give up on your resolutions if you make a mistake or have a setback. Move beyond your slip-up and get back on track.
Ask for help. If you feel like you need help to achieve your goal, contact BJC EAP. We can help you make your goals more attainable and help you cope with challenges, including unhealthy behaviors, stress and emotional issues.