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Tips for setting and keeping positive New Year’s resolutions

Dec. 14, 2016

As we prepare for the new year, it’s a typical time to list the goals, projects and self-improvements we want to accomplish.

To ensure you stick to your goal, here are a few questions to ask yourself when setting a resolution this year:

Samantha Schaefer

Samantha Schaefer | PHOTO BY INDIANA UNIVERSITY

Is it personalized to you?

  • Are you doing this for yourself or because someone else wants you to?
  • Are you trying to change others instead of looking at what you can change?
  • Have you considered what you personally want to achieve at this point in your life?
  • What motivates you or is the most pressing issue?

Is it realistic?

  • Is this physically possible?
  • Are you expecting a quick fix?
  • Are you focusing on taking something away instead of what you can add?
  • Are you setting yourself up for success or failure?
  • How many goals are you trying to set?
  • Can you cut your goal in half to start?

Is it specific and measurable?

  • Is this a short- or long-term goal?
  • Do you have a timeline with numbers, dates and times included?
  • Can the goal be measured to assess progress?
  • What steps need to be taken to get your end result? 

These are important questions to ask yourself, because if you aren’t setting realistic goals for positive reasons, it’s easier to get discouraged. Now that you have a goal, how do you keep it? Perhaps the smartest resolution this year is to change how we measure success. 

  • Let's stop striving for perfection; it can create a lot of stress and strain. In each and every thing you do, some of it is done right and results in a positive outcome.
  • Write down your goals and post them where you can regularly see them to remind you of your vision for a healthier you.
  • Enlist support. The more people who know about your goals, the more they can encourage and support you. Reflect on appreciating where you are today and all those people who were helpful in getting you here.
  • Self-monitor. Ask yourself what you might do to increase your percentage of success and establish checkpoints. Success is reached by traveling through small increments of being or doing things well and finding peace with the choices made and who you've become along the way.
  • Manage your time. It is hard to juggle life, but we make time for what is important. If it is important enough to you, it will become a priority..
  • Learn from set-backs and move forward. Don’t use it as a reason to give up. Be forgiving. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off and continue from where you left off.
  • Take it a day or week or month at a time. Success doesn't need to be huge. Small achievements over time need to be celebrated just as much as those leaps forward. Every journey starts with a single step.  
  • Find a way to reward yourself. Identify what is important and celebrate where you are in your quest for success. 

 For extra motivation in the new year, full-time faculty and staff (and their spouses on an IU-sponsored medical plan) can register for Feel Great IU, a 12-week online challenge. Participants will track their weight loss/maintenance and/or their physical activity in a personal online tracker. Educational resources such as Weight Watchers, Diabetes Prevention Program, Nutritional Counseling and more will be available for Feel Great IU participants to help them on their journey. Space is limited, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who complete the challenge and are eligible will receive an incentive. 

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