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HOW TO KICKSTART YOUR YEAR

Happy New Year! Wow. It's 2024! The new year can bring so many emotions. Whether it's reflecting on the previous year, being overwhelmed with what is to come, or just excitement surrounding this new time of life. When thinking of the new year, it is often a time associated with anxiety surrounding year expectations and events. In order to start the year off right and foster a healthy mindset, I like to use January as a time to create goals. Goals are important when trying to achieve wellness. Setting goals can help with anxiety surrounding expectations, improve mental health by achieving goals, and overall helps create a healthy mindset. It can be hard to know how to set goals, so here are a few tips!

CREATING THE RIGHT GOALS

We are all familiar with the basic new years resolutions. New years resolutions are essentially goals that you want to achieve for the year. The most common ones are to drink more water, go to the gym more, wake up earlier, and so on. There is nothing wrong with these goals! They are all great goals to have. The importance is sticking to them. Sticking with a new years resolution or a goal can be hard. In order to be able to persist on these tasks, the first step is setting the right goals. It can be hard to pinpoint what exactly the "right" goals are. They are truly different for everyone. However, a few things remain true for all goals. When setting a goal they should be ambitious yet realistic as well as healthy. For example, say your goal is to workout 7 days a week. While this goal is extremely ambitious, it is not necessarily realistic or healthy. It can be hard to schedule in time for a workout everyday of the week as routines are not always the same each day. It can also be harmful to not give your body a break. When working out it is important to let your muscles have time to recover. If they don't get this recovery time you are more prone to injury. A more realistic goal would be to workout 5 days a week, have an active rest day, and then a complete rest day. This is just an example and isn't true for everyone! That is what is most important to remember. A goal that is ambitious, realistic, and healthy for someone else may not be for you!

"SCAFFOLDING" GOALS

Scaffolding is a common technique used in education. It is the process of breaking lessons into manageable units. I like to use this technique when working towards more big picture goals. Some goals require many years to achieve. In order to make the goal more attainable, it can be helpful to break down my large goal into several smaller goals that add up to that top goal. To put this into perspective, let's say my goal is to put away $15,000 dollars for a down payment on a car. In respect to my hourly wage and part time hours, that is not realistic for me to do in a year. So for the year I may set my goal to save $1000. Maybe I get a raise the following year, then I can move up the goal accordingly. When you only set big picture goals that take lots of time and effort to achieve, it can become discouraging. With scaffolding goals, each time you reach one, it is reinforcing! Some days it can be hard to stick to your goals. When you have reinforcement along the way, it is much easier to persist.

STAYING MOTIVATED

Staying motivated at anything can be difficult at times. Goals take time and effort to achieve, and motivation is bound to decline. In order to stay motivated, there are some great techniques to try. Your tendency to stay motivated towards your goal is set when you set your goal. To put this in perspective, if you set a goal that you would enjoy achieving, you are more likely to feel motivated to reach it. Say you set a new years resolution to lift weights more, because you want to increase your physical activity. If you do not like to lift weights, you are not likely to stay motivated towards this goal. Whereas if you enjoy slow paced workouts and watching Netflix, a great goal to set would be to walk on a treadmill for an entire episode once a day. You are also more likely to stay motivated if you choose a goal you really want. For example, if you have the goal to save more money, you should attach a material item that you want to save for. Instead of just "saving" you should save for something you need or want. Whether it's a down payment on your dream house or car, you are more likely to feel motivated to stick to your goal if it is something you have a desire for.

Try these tips this year to set the right goals that you can stay motivated to achieve! Remember that you are not alone in your journey towards these goals either! Lean on your support system this year, including us!

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