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Dr. Steven Papuchis

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9 Tips To Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Authored by Dr. Steven Papuchis. January 6, 2020

Happy holidays and Happy New Year from your family at VSI! With 2020 now here, it’s time to focus on one of the great traditions – New Year’s resolutions.

As everyone knows, New Year’s resolutions can be very difficult to maintain. On average, most resolutions are broken within 2 weeks. This normally happens because the goals put in place require significant lifestyle changes, or are unrealistic to attain. But this should not discourage us from trying to improve ourselves! The difficulty isn’t in identifying goals, but in setting the right goals; ones that provide direction, increase motivation, and guide people to achieve the desired outcome. Here are nine tips to sustaining your New Year’s resolutions all year long.

1. Set specific goals

While big, broad goals are nice, they are very difficult for creating a plan of action. You need measurable goals stated in behavioral terms. Often it is also helpful to define your start date and final date by which you want to achieve your goal.

2. Set challenging but realistic goals

This is the Goldilocks principle. Making the goals too easy don’t motivate you to continue. Goals that are too big and difficult, or take too long to achieve dissuade you from the pursuit.

3. Set performance goals

Make your goals focus on the process and “actionable” than focused on a specific outcome or result. Actionable goals give focus to the task at hand and are directly under your control. Results or outcomes can be influenced by outside forces that either prevent you from achieving the goal, or make a ready excuse for why you didn’t achieve the goal.

4. Set long and short term goals

A long-term goal is something like running a marathon. This is a big goal! But not one that will be achieved in a week or even a month. So set shorter term goals that help you achieve the long term goal. Make weekly or even daily smaller goals that help you get to the long term goal. For example, “today I will run 3 miles. Tomorrow I will run 4 miles. This week I will run a total of 15miles.”

5. Write down your goal

Either in a journal or on a post-it note and placed in an area where they can easily be seen every day(like a post-it on the bathroom mirror). This will help you visualize your goal and keep you accountable and motivated.

6. Develop a goal-achievement strategy

This is the “how” in achieving your goals. Create a plan of action and stick to it!

7. Enlist a support system

This can be a spouse, friend, or even an online community. Studies have shown that people who go after goals with a support system fair better than those who go at it alone.

8. Evaluate goal achievement

Regularly monitor your process and if what you are doing is taking you closer to or further away from your goal. Perhaps you’ve completed a week or so of your goal-achievement process and you are stuck. Evaluate what you are doing and make changes! Don’t give up on the goal.

9. Enjoy the process

Don’t forget to enjoy the ride. New Year’s Resolutions are meant to improve yourself in some way or develop a healthy habit. Celebrate the small victories and learn from the setbacks. When you finally achieve your goal, take the time to enjoy the accomplishment!

The physicians at Virginia Spine Institute are in your corner, and are here to help support your goals! If you have pain that is limiting your function and causing a poor quality of life, come in for an evaluation. We will come up with a customized treatment plan designed to reduce or eliminate your pain and help you stay on track with those New Year’s resolutions!

About The Authors

Dr. Steven Papuchis

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