Lit by the sunset are the numbers 2017. The 1 is replaced by a person leaping in the air.

How To *Really* Plan For The New Year

Fact Checked and Peer Reviewed

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“I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the new year’s.”

— Henry Moore

Made peace with last year? Great. Now let’s talk New Years resolutions.

Everybody knows about ’em, but not everybody does them. And those who do have mixed success.

I could read more, or eat healthier. I gave up drinking a long time ago, so there’s one resolution off the table. In 2017, I could tell the people around me that I love them more often, or curb my self-criticism. I could hit up the gym, hit up my boss for that raise, or I could go the opposite route. I could try to do a little less, find a little more time for myself, and absorb each quiet moment

In a world that values keeping the minutes and the hours jam-packed full of stuff, how do you look towards the year to come and make the right sort of plans? If your intention is to change, to prevent previous damages from reoccurring, how do you keep that momentum going? More importantly, where do you begin? Here are some tips on how to make New Year’s resolutions and be more likely to keep them:

Make resolutions for today.

Resolutions for the year (or even the month) can be daunting. Make your plans and goals for the day, and make them every day. Want to curb drinking? Quit for today. Aiming to strengthen friendships? Give someone a call in the next hour. Giving up sugar? Let’s try the next five minutes. While you may not be able to control a lifetime, you know that in the next five minutes of your life you can chew a piece of gum, take a walk, and handle it. Focus on the here and now, and remember that small changes add up.

Speak up.

Peer pressure may have negative connotations, but it can be a beautiful thing. Want to get more physical in 2017? Let your friends and family know, so they’ll ask you about your progress and include you on bike rides and hikes.

Find your people.

It takes a village. Not only to raise children, but to make lifestyle changes. If you want to become healthier, seek out groups who are doing healthy activities. If you want to party less, take a break hanging from hanging with Cocktail Hour Carol and give Book-Club Betty a chance. Goals are more fun to reach with friends.

Take it inside.

As much as getting physical activity and nutrients will help you feel better, even the fitness buffs and health nuts among us require emotional health. Resolve to nurture your spiritual, emotional, and social needs just as much as your physical ones. Don’t forget your heart, your mind, and your soul.

Pull your future from your past.

If you are hoping to have a cleaner slate and boundaries in the new year, take some time to examine what you should avoid going forward. If you don’t like the person you’ve been, make an action plan to help you avoid becoming that person again. Don’t pull resolutions from the media, thin air, or this blog. Pull them from your personal history and your own internal struggles.

Small steps can lead to long walks, and days of change lead to years of transformation. Start small and grow big. Unless your goal is to lose weight, of course. Here’s to 2017, and to all of us imperfect humans hoping to be a bit better than we were last year!

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