Ringing in New Year with achievable goals

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Richard Dennis
  • 39th Maintenance Group superintendent
It's the start of a new year and everything seems bright and fresh. It's time for the annual ritual of a New Year's resolution.

These days, making a NewYear's resolution should be easier than ever because we can find a "how to" for just about everything. But before we get started, we should take a moment to examine our motives and consider why we want to make a change. If we are ready for the challenge we can usually find a chief who's glad to give some friendly advice:

Set challenging but realistic goals. Research concludes that approximately 80 percent of all New Year's resolutions are broken by Jan. 31, and by the end of the year, less than five percent of us will have persevered. One of New Year's resolutions' biggest pitfalls is that we tend to aim too high and try to make too drastic a change. Most likely we didn't develop the behavior we were trying to change overnight, so we may not be able to make a 180-degree change.

Another mistake many people make is to keep their resolutions to themselves.

For example, I told a couple people a few months ago I wanted to run a half marathon. I started out good but when I finally worked my way up to eight miles, my entire body ached and I thought there was no way I was ever going to be able to complete a half marathon. I mentioned to a friend I was rethinking my goal and since then I've gotten more advice and encouragement for me to keep working toward my goal. Had I not told someone, it would have been easy to give up.

Make a mental change. It's amazing how many excuses we can come up with to not do something. For some reason our brains don't seem as creative when it comes to convincing ourselves to do things we know are good for us. Not only do we have to make physical changes, we also have to change our mindset.

Finally, rejoice even in the small successes and keep working! Change doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing affair. For instance, if your goal was to quit smoking you didn't completely achieve it but have cut back, you've made a positive and healthy change. That is a success story!