New Year – New You? Goal-setting strategies to help your New Year’s Resolutions stick!

The New Year is upon us which means many people are making resolutions in hopes of making 2015 their best year yet. Unfortunately most of these New Year’s Resolutions are forgotten or tossed aside after a few months (or days) of effort. So how can you make your resolutions stick and stay motivated to work towards your goals?

Well the girls at Excelsior Youth Center know a little something about this because they work hard every day on their treatment and education goals. They don’t wait until the New Year to make resolutions – they set goals and work toward them year-round. Here are a few of the strategies that Excelsior girls use to stay focused and motivated on their goals:

  • Choose carefully. During the New Year, it’s easy to overwhelm yourself with a long list of resolutions, but this is a mistake. Your brain can only handle so much at one time especially when it comes to change. It is best to limit yourself to one or two primary goals or resolutions. So think carefully about yourself and what is really important to you before choosing your New Year’s Resolutions. And most importantly, make sure these goals are realistic and achievable!
  • Frame your goal. The most successful goals are broad and positively framed. For example, the goal “stop eating junk food” is more difficult than the goal “eat healthier”. First, “stop eating junk food” is too rigid and specific – most people eat junk food every once in a while making this goal unrealistic – the next time you eat a potato chip or sneak an M&M, you’ll feel like a failure. Second, the goal is negatively framed which makes you feel deprived. If your goal is to “eat healthier”, you focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t do.
  • Make a plan. It’s all about baby steps when it comes to goal setting. Make a step-by-step plan detailing how you will work towards your goal. Here is where you can get specific. Each week define a sub-goal you will focus on that will help you achieve your larger goal. In our “eat healthier” example, maybe the first week you focus drinking more water then the second week you add eating a serving of vegetables every day and so on.
  • Celebrate your successes! The best thing about taking baby steps to achieve your goal is that you get to celebrate your many accomplishments. Reward yourself as you accomplish your sub-goals!
  • Keep the long game in mind. Envision what your life would be like in one, five or ten years if you’ve achieved your goal. Keeping this in mind will help you stay motivated and remind you why you’re working so hard.

New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to ring in the New Year and motivate yourself to be your best. But keep these strategies in mind to stay focused so that next year you’ll be able to celebrate how far you’re come.

From the entire Excelsior family, Happy New Year!