Get ready, go, set your intention

This time of year seems to bring out the Puritan in everyone. After the glorious excesses of the holiday season, it’s time to “repent” and turn away from rich food and drink and re-commit to healthier habits, greater mindfulness and good works.

While there’s something appealing about this mother of all fresh starts, keeping those resolutions going past January 31 takes some serious work. Some tips:

1. First, set your intention. Take some time to think about what you want to improve or change. Is it diet? Fitness (physical or fiscal)? Career? Your social life? Ask yourself why do you want to make this change? And why now? What’s your motivation? If you can understand what’s driving this decision, it’s easier to keep your resolve—and your eyes on the prize—when times get tough (and they will).

2. Don’t overpromise. It’s great to be aspirational, but be realistic. Rather than say, “I’m going to lose weight…find a new job…exercise every day…” break the bigger goal into smaller, more measurable and achievable steps (e.g. substitute water for soda, build stamina by walking more, find classes that can advance your career or develop new interests). Build on each goal and review your progress.

3. Stay accountable. To yourself, if no one else. A food/mood diary is an excellent way to track your appetite and the triggers that push you off course. A stream-of-consciousness morning journal frees your mind for the day and helps you identify behaviors you may want to change—or keep. As I tell my clients, I don’t have to see what you write but it’s in the writing that you find wisdom.

4. Forgive yourself if you don’t always make your goals. It’s not the mistake; it’s the recovery that counts. What happened, what did you do in response and what can you learn from this experience?

5. Reward yourself. Change is hard. And a little self indulgence (fresh flowers, a new mascara(!), a walk around the block, making time for a friend or hobby you love) can go a long way in restoring balance and joy.

We’ve resolved to bring you lots of new programs to help you find your best  { self  } in 2016. So stay tuned. And let us know what you hope to accomplish in the new year.