I’d like to officially welcome everyone to 2017!

A new year can mean many things for people, but all-in-all it can mean a new you. You get to reassess and reset goals, ideals and desires. As I sat down to write this article I pondered how I could make this a meaningful and enticing column despite the cliche that is New Year’s Resolution-making. Of course I want to give you something to work toward this new year, but I didn’t want it to be boring or mundane. So I decided to give some advice and encouragement to make 2017 a great year!

Be Grateful

What are you grateful for that occurred this year? Showing gratitude is a great way to learn about yourself and show others you are selfless. Write it down and bathe in your gratitude.

I am grateful for many things this year; one being my wonderful fiance. We’ve had a whirlwind of a year, but I’m grateful I did not have to go through it all alone.

Give Yourself Some Credit

What are you proud of accomplishing this year? Did you run a marathon? Graduate school? Or simply arrive on time to work every day? Whatever it is, stay positive and give yourself a pat on the back. Making a list of all the things that happened this year will help you realize that 2016 wasn’t a waste and give you motivation to make 2017 that much better.

What I am proud of is that I stood up for my rights as someone who believes in the justice system and for doing the right thing.

Make Peace With Your Past

“If there is no solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.” — Dalai Lama XIV

We all have made mistakes we wish we could forget or undo and move on; well let’s do just that. See what you can learn from it and chalk it up to experience and move on. Pushing things aside or pretending they’re not there will only bog you down later. Make peace with your past, clear the board, and be ready for what is coming in 2017.

One thing I will be making peace with is not achieving any of the goals I set to accomplish in 2016. This year has brought me many surprises and wonderful things that I don’t, however, I did not achieve a single goal I set last January. Just because I didn’t achieve any of those goals doesn’t mean I was a complete failure. I don’t regret not achieving those goals… priorities change.

This Time Next Year

Imagine where you’d like your life to be a year from now. What sort of things do you want to have accomplished? Start scribbling ideas down … have $10,000 in savings, buy a home, and pay off student loans. Making a list will help when it comes to setting your goals, and will also be great to look at again next December to see what you’ve achieved and what still needs work.

One of the ideas that I have scribbled down is to run another half-marathon. It’s going to take a lot of courage and determination, which will help boost my self-esteem.

Get Motivated

Ask yourself what drives you, the reasons you get up in the morning. Consistently remind yourself of them and use them to make the things you want to happen, happen.

Motivation is a huge factor in behavior change; whether it’s drinking more water, or quitting smoking. Without motivation nothing will get done. Motivation is a huge battle in my life right now. I need to find the right motivating factors to help me accomplish my 2017 goals. But I feel that I am in a place where that is more possible than before.

Accountability And Support

It’s not difficult for your good intentions to go out the window once the reality of January sets in. There are ways to prevent this from happening. Put a note in your calendar to review your goals at the beginning of each month. Reviewing them will help you stay on course.

Putting it out there doesn’t mean that you are boasting, bragging or weak. Putting it out there means you are being held accountable. Without being accountable our goals are just ideas in our heads.

Don’t just think about and make a mental list of the goals in your head, right them down and tell them to someone you trust. You may even find that they have similar goals that you can work toward together.

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

Whatever you’re looking to accomplish in the next 12 months, it’s important to make a plan. Make all your goals SMART goals

S= Specific description of the goal *I want to run the Provo City half-marathon on May 6, 2017*

M= Measurable results. *Did I run it or not?*

A= Attainable goal. *Is it really possible for me to go from couch to half-marathon in five months?*

R= Realistic goal. *Do I have any health problems that will deter me from training or running? Will I have enough money for entry fees, travel, etc.?*

T= Time-based goal. *Is five months a reasonable time to get into half marathon shape? Or do I need longer than five months?*

Reward Yourself

Be sure to set aside time to indulge and earn a reward or two along the way. Don’t, however, be counter intuitive with your rewards. Too many people reward their fitness goals or weight loss goals with decadent foods. Instead try using a reward as getting a massage or some new clothes.

Having few rewards along the way will continue to motivate you throughout the year. Use them as little stair-steppers along the way. Break the year into quarters and use these rewards quarterly.

Give Something Back

If you’re going to dedicate time and effort to improving your own life why not set aside a little time to help someone else. This doesn’t have to be a scheduled, organized service. Simply do some volunteering, helping out an elderly relative or neighbor, getting involved in your community; even just donating to a charity. Try doing things for your partner and family; making breakfast, doing laundry, taking care of the little ones. In helping others, you help yourself.

This will be my first year as a homeowner and I am so excited to do neighborly things in my community, shovel walks, mow lawns, and take goodies or dinner to those in need.

Information in this article was gathered from multiple sources and is a reflection of the author’s opinion only.

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About the Author

Peter Stoker

Peter Stoker

C. Peter STOKER, MPH, CHES, is a community health education coordinator, HIV outreach educator, epidemiologist for Salt Lake County Health Department. Information in these articles is gathered from multiple sources and are a reflection of the author’s opinion only.

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