It’s great to get a jump start on your goals on the first day of the year, but don’t beat yourself up if you still need time to gain clarity on your next steps. January 1 is simply a date. This is not a marathon, this is your life! Forward progress is still progress, so invest as much time as you need to get crystal-clear on your health goals and what it will take to achieve them.
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Make a detailed list of your goals
Writing down your goals is the first important step to making those dreams a reality. Research shows that putting your ideas on paper makes it more likely you’ll get the job done. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting and found that we are 42 percent more likely to achieve our goals just by writing them down.
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Make sure your goals really matter to you
For every goal on your list, ask yourself why it’s important to you. Whether you want to start a fitness blog or lose 30 pounds, make sure your goals suit the long-term vision you have for your life. If your goal will get you closer to living the life you’ve imagined, that’s great! If, on the other hand, you’re doing something to impress other people, consider removing it from your list.
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Learn how to say “no”
When you say no to the things that don't serve you, you are, in effect, saying yes to the things that matter most. It can be difficult turning down (another) invitation to Sunday brunch with the girls, but think about what you could do with those three hours and $40 instead. Could you spend that time going for a long walk or taking a new fitness class? Could you put that $40 towards your healthy meals for the week? Your true friends and family will understand if you respectfully decline, so ditch the guilt-trip and embrace the word “no.”
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Clear the clutter
Whether it’s junk mail on your kitchen counter or too many unused pots in your pantry, clutter can be a top roadblock to your health journey. Submit a request for a vacation day or reserve a Saturday where you spend the whole day at home clearing the clutter in your kitchen. Find a new space for important mail and donate extra pots and pans to Goodwill. You’ll feel so relieved to finally have open space to cook and prepare your healthy meals.
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Join a fitness community
Accomplishing your goals is easier when you have people in your circle who have your back. Make 2015 the year you reconnect with your girlfriends and build stronger ties within a fitness community. Having strong social ties could help you live a longer, healthier life, according to a study of 300,000 people conducted by Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers. If your loved ones live in a different state, sign up for Skype or use Facetime on your iPhone to keep in touch.
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Focus on your financial health, too
Whether we like to admit it or not, money-woes can really put a damper on our health and goal-setting. If your finances are holding you back from getting rest and being healthy, take an honest inventory of where your money is going and what you can do to increase your cash flow. Can you commit a few hours per weekend to a freelance job? Can you learn to live without premium cable for just one year? When you look back over your life, it won’t matter how many HBO channels you have, but it will matter that you’ve lived a healthy, happy life! Here are great ways start improving your financial health.
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Gut your social media feeds
If your Facebook feed is full of updates and video clips that drain your time and energy, start unfollowing or unfriending some of those people in your network. If you have “Instagram envy” each time you see so-and-so’s posts, unfollow that person. Be intentional about much time you allow yourself to spend on social media and be sure you’re only following people who have inspirational and motivational things to share.
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Inch by inch it’s all a cinch
I must repeat this mantra to myself at least twice a day. Feeling overwhelmed can sometimes make you want to drop everything and do nothing, but trust me, the only way out is through. Whether it’s five minutes or $5, each small step toward your goal is progress. Take it one day at a time, don’t give up, and eventually your fitness dreams will become a reality.
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