Okay, it’s that time of year again… The time where we focus on all the changes we want to make, and how refreshed we will magically feel now that year 2016 has arrived. ‘New year new me’.

So how can we actually accomplish the goals we create for year 2016? And how can we be inspired to believe that the new year will be filled with great changes and a feeling of being refreshed?

Here are some helpful tips to assist in ensuring your new year is a healthy, more positive start. After all, the new year is a fabulous time to make changes and feel rejuvenated, so why not truly give it a shot?!

Focus on changing the behavior, not the outcome.
This is key to setting awesome goals for yourself. We cannot only focus on what we want, but focus on how we are going to get there. For example, let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds. If you only focus on that goal and the outcome you want, how on earth can you accomplish the weight loss and continue on this healthier path? We need to focus on what needs to change, not just the outcome. What areas of my lifestyle can be improved so I can reach that goal?
If we do not recognize and change our behaviors (eating poorly, too much sugar, not working out, etc.) our weight loss goal cannot be met and maintained long term. How can this be a lifestyle change and something we feel can be easily accomplished if we do not know and recognize the behaviors that lead to the weight loss?

Focus on recognizing and changing your behavior, and the rest will follow.

Create SMART goals.
Once you establish the goals/changes you want for year 2016, make sure that your goals can fit into all the categories below. And remember that a little trial and error is expected. Trial and error help us grow and learn.

SMART goals:

S-specific- Provide some serious details, people! This is key to meeting your New Year’s goals: who, what, where, when, why? You cannot go into the new year with a goal of ‘I want to lose weight’. Instead, get more specific by saying ‘I want to lose an average of 4 pounds per month for the next 12 months by joining a health club, drinking 100 ounces of water a day, and eating vegetables at each meal’. Know why and how to accomplish this goal, and write it all down;  focus on your behaviors in order get to that desired outcome.

M-measurable- How is your goal going to be measured? By simply saying ‘I need to lose weight’ is not nearly enough. How can you measure that? Instead start saying, ‘I am going to lose 4 pounds a month for the next 12 months, and lose ____ inches around my waist’, you can assess your progress and depict whether or not you’re reaching your goal. When focusing on your behaviors, decide the amount of water to drink each day, the amount of vegetables at each meal, and the amount of time you will spend at a health club each week. Ask yourself, ‘how much/how many, and how will I know if my goal has been met’? By keeping yourself accountable using measurement, you stay on track. Plus, it feels so much better to measure your goals and have a sense of accomplishment when you can visually see progress and results!

A-attainable- How can you be successful in this goal? By being aware of how to reach your goal, you begin to see opportunities that bring you one step closer to goal achievement. Choices and changes you make help you to grow towards your goals and understand them better along the way. It’s all about awareness here!

R-realistic- How feasible is this goal? Don’t schedule yourself at the gym 7 days a week for 2 hours if you don’t have the time to do it. You can start small to create those habits. Know your goals and the changes in behavior that need to take place. Then be honest with yourself- can I do this? Avoid setting yourself up for failure.

T-timely- Give yourself a time limit. If there is no time limit, goals seem to fizzle out because we have no end point. Timelines give us something to aim for and help to motivate us along the way.

Don’t forget to ‘fill your bucket’
What good are goals if we forget to praise ourselves along the way? ‘Filling your bucket’ is a metaphor for providing yourself enough positivity to feel good about yourself each and every day.  Fill your personal bucket with uplifting thoughts, motivation, and pats on the back each time you make choices to help in accomplishing your goals. Be aware of your progress as well as the adjustments you’re making to change your behavior, and give yourself credit for it. You are your best cheerleader!

Make mistakes, make a lot of them.
Say whaaaaat??? I promise I am not crazy! Mistakes help us to create new things, learn new things, attempt new things…By making mistakes you are living. Making mistakes helps us to push ourselves and make changes; you do things you’ve never done before. Make new mistakes. Make wonderful mistakes. Make mistakes that you never thought you would. Do not worry about not being good enough, or that you will be judged. Do not worry about being perfect. What ever you are fearful of doing….DO IT. Make mistakes in 2016 and forever.

Happy New Year, everyone!

-keep shining