Setting goals for the new year

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The new year is here, and there is no better time than now to make a few realistic and attainable goals for the coming year.

The most popular goals are related to health and money habits. Unfortunately, only about 10 percent of people stick to their resolution, and there are a few reasons why. Most of the time, the goals are unrealistic and not planned out.

So, how can you reach your goal?

1. Be specific. A good goal tells you what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. It leaves little wiggle room and keeps you accountable, which is key.

2. Make it attainable. It is okay to set lofty goals, but it may make you feel discouraged if it is too challenging. Set short-term milestones that you think you can reach throughout the year. There are numerous apps that can help you keep track of your goal as well.

3. Make it measurable. Goals are easier to pursue when you have a way to measure them. This also makes it less difficult to see if you have attained your short-term goals throughout the year. Set “check-in” dates throughout the year to track your progress.

4. Talk about it. Many feel that discussing goals with a family member or friend helps them stay on track. Find someone who can help keep you accountable or can ask about your goal periodically to help keep your goal alive.

5. Reward yourself. Celebrate each milestone you achieve on the way to your ultimate goal with a reward system. If you haven’t reached your short-term goals, that’s okay, too. Don’t get discouraged. It may mean that you need to adjust your goals accordingly.

If your resolution is health-related (e.g., losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol or eating healthy), you may find that discussing this with your healthcare provider would be useful.

Work with your healthcare provider to help set realistic and attainable goals on your way to a healthier 2020!

Sneha Patel, DO is a provider at PeaceHealth Medical Group Family Medicine in Bellingham.

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