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Goal Setting for the New Year

It’s been a long year for most of us and many are ready for a new start in 2024. With this brings new goals. I’m sure you’ve tried to stick with a resolution in January, but then a few weeks later, you forgot what it was. Typically, it used to take 21 days for a habit to stick, new research suggests that it is closer to 66 days. So, let’s use 90 days just to be safe. Ask yourself, 90 days from now, I will have ___________________. Fill in the blank for your 90-day goal. Maybe you will have exercised 36 times or have tried two new types of vegetables (possibilities could include Delicata squash, broccolini, golden beets, Swiss Chard, and tons more!). Or maybe your answer is, “I will have a clear sense of my budget.”

You’ve established this reasonable goal and it’s time to get to work. Here are a few tips;

- Plan ahead and set yourself up for success. This may mean setting your workout clothes out the night before, doing your grocery shopping and meal planning for the week on Sunday, establishing your “want” purchases versus your “need” purchases and so on.

- Own it. Make it part of your identity. Instead of telling others, I like to run, state, I am a runner! Or, I will try to eat more vegetables, say to yourself that I will eat and make choices like a healthy person would.

- You don’t have to be perfect. Shoot for doing your best at least 80% of the time and don’t let that inner voice take over and make you feel guilty. We always have a new day tomorrow and can start over. Recently I really wanted a peppermint shake from Chick Fil A. I don’t think I’ve ever had one and I knew it would taste good. Now I normally avoid fast food restaurants, but I had to purchase a gift card and I caved in and bought the shake too. Most of the day afterwards, I beat myself up. The next day I decided to eat better.

- Enlist an accountability partner. Maybe it’s your spouse, a good friend, a co-worker or a neighbor. I ran 3 miles every Thursday morning at 5:45 a.m. with a neighbor for about 10 years. On those cold days or when I was so tired, I pursued because I knew she was waiting at the corner for me (and vice versa). Another way to be accountable is to write it down and post it somewhere that you’ll see the goal every day. It could be posted on the inside door of your coffee mug cabinet, the inside of your closet or on your phone or computer screen saver. Make it visible, make yourself accountable.

An aha moment for me recently came after reading a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. If you get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time you’re done.

Conversely, if you get 1% worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.

All my best in health and happiness for 2024!

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