A New Outlook on a New Year

As 2018 wraps up its final weeks and we start to look forward to 2019, many of us will begin thinking of our New Year’s Resolutions.  Some of us will look to break bad habits, make positive changes, or even lose some of that seasonal weight gain. These are all wonderful plans; however, how many of us stick to these plans after a few weeks?   How many of us give up after we make a mistake when trying to achieve our goals?

I encourage you all, when making your goals, to make them S.M.A.R.T.  This means goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  For example, a common New Year’s Resolution is to, “lose weight.”  This vague goal is difficult to pursue because it does not lend itself to acting.  Be Specific:  how much do I want to lose?  How do I want to lose it, through exercise and diet changes?  Have the goal be Measurable:  how much do I want to lose on a monthly basis?  How often will I weigh in?  Make sure the goal is Attainable: losing 10 pounds in one week is not only difficult but also not recommended.  Losing 1 pound or less a week is a much more reasonable and achievable goal.  Think about a goal that will not only keep you interested, but also keep you on track.  Setting a goal too high can be discouraging when it can’t be reached.  A Relevant goal is one that relates to you and your life, one that has an objective behind it and that will lead to that objective.  A Timely goal is a goal that has strict time parameters.  Put yourself on a realistic deadline.  Make a schedule that fits your lifestyle and fits the goal.  By having a set schedule, you will be more inclined to pursue that goal.

Another way to increase your chances of success is to partner up with other people on a goal.  Whether it be a family member, co-worker or neighbor with similar goals, by making goals together you can create a support system.  When one of you falls or feels discouraged, the others can help you get back on track.  Falling off the horse is just a part of learning how to ride, but so many of us fall off once and think we can’t get back up.  A support system helps overcome and encourage us to get back up and keep trying.

With 2019 on our doorstep I encourage you all to make changes for yourselves, your family, and your community.  Find encouragement and support from the people around you and remember that failure is not the opposite of success; it is a part of it.

Happy New Year to you all from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

For information related to health and nutrition, please contact Family and Community Health Agent Chris Coon at chris.coon@ag.tamu.edu.

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