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New Year's Success

{PRACTICE NAME} SuccessIt’s almost impossible to have a conversation during the beginning of January without the mention of New Year’s Resolutions arising. The start of the New Year brings with it new intentions, new goals, a renewed sense of motivation, and hope for a better life. People want to get in shape, quit smoking, choose a better career, start saving money or any number of other personal pursuits. This isn’t a blog entry where I’ll be bashing New Year’s Resolutions (NYR)—I believe this spark of motivation is a wonderful thing! Rather, I want the positive energy NYR inspires to be embraced and used to create lasting change in your life. That energy can be harnessed with intention and a solid guide for that unpaved road you’ll be travelling down.

Healing is NOT an Event, It’s a PROCESS

No matter what your NYR are, they most likely aimed at improving your life in some way. Any process that strives to fix or repair a broken system is a healing process.

Wanting to improve is a natural and essential part of growth. What we need to remember is that improving on a system takes time. Sometimes it takes a long time. Going to the gym twice a week for two weeks won’t yield noticeable results. Quitting smoking for a week won’t do much good. Consistency is the key to making sure your hard work makes a difference.

Make A PLAN! Make it Visual!

Not having a plan is the number one reason NYR are abandoned by mid-February or sooner.

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Writing it down makes your goals real.

If you don’t plan to succeed, you plan to fail. Goals are born as thoughts, and thoughts are abstract. It’s difficult to clearly visualize something you’ve never seen. This holds true for goals.

In order to make your goals tangible or seeable write them in a notebook. The act of writing a goal down makes it real. Write down why the goal is important to you and how your life will benefit. Give yourself a realistic timeline. It doesn’t even have to be the beginning of the next year. It can be any date as long as it’s practical.

Create a plan of baby steps–smaller daily, weekly, and monthly goals that will contribute toward your larger goal. It’s a snowball effect. A little bit of effort each day will take you farther than a lot of effort for only a few weeks!

Knowledge is Power

Educating yourself about the area of your life you want to improve is a big step in making a lasting change. Even harder than completing a goal, is trying to complete one without knowing why it’s your goal. Why do you want to be healthier? Why do you want to quit smoking? This may seem obvious, but if we don’t really think about it, the reason can become forgotten and then we give up. On the flip side, if we were to sit down and write why we wanted to be healthy this gives us a great starting place for educating ourselves.

If you want to improve your health, start by reading about health. If you want to save money, read about saving money.  Look at articles, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, join a group, and share what you’ve learned with friends and family! Once you’ve gained the knowledge to change, you’ll be more likely to succeed.

Record, Review, and Reflect

Record every victory, no matter how small. Record every failure, no matter how embarrassing.

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Reflection can be as simple as writing in a journal, meditating, or talking.

Recording your journey or process is important for learning. You will have big and small set-backs, but you’ll also have many victories! Being aware of this will help you to review your process later, you’ll be able to see what’s working and what’s not in terms of meeting your goals.

Reviewing what you’ve accomplished or haven’t for the week, or even the month will help you to see helpful patterns in your life. Reflection can be as simple as writing in a journal, meditating, or talking with a friend about what you’re experiencing.

The 3R’s will help to keep you motivated by reminding you why you started in the first place. They’ll help you to remain consistent and they’ll allow you to see any holes in your knowledge base pertaining to your goal.

Regardless of whether they pertain to health, these basic guidelines can help you to transform your New Year’s Resolutions into actual and attainable goals. The best thing about the process of change is that you can start at any time! You don’t have to start on the first of the year, or even during the first few weeks of the year. You can start fresh every week, every day, as many times as it takes!

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