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Columns

Using self-determination to accomplish our new year's goals

The unique and personal decisions we make in our daily lives add up to give us power over the way we live. The food we eat, the way we structure our days and what we do for fun are our preferred methods of doing things. And when a new year is fresh, we often re-examine these habits and preferences and attempt to restructure or reshape our days, and ultimately our lives.

We have an innate ability to know what is best for us and to heal ourselves.

The decisions we make in our daily lives give us power over the way we live. Commonly, this time of year - fresh with resolutions - can build momentum like a locomotive and be life-changing. Other times our resolve is like a firecracker, having a lot of sparks and then fizzling quickly.

With the beginning of a new year comes opportunities for a fresh start. So let’s tackle the things that have been lingering and make the changes for which we have been yearning. You might have needed a reminder to start, and hopefully, this article inspires the initiative in you.

Maybe you need someone to hold you accountable, like a personal trainer for your life goals? Tell someone in your life about your goals and set a checkpoint with that person to assess your progress. If you have already given up on your ideas because you already feel like you blew it, this is your invite to get back into it. We all mess up, and we can’t go back and change our behavior. Quitting on yourself and your goals will only make it worse. Turn back to your objectives and dig in.

Have you been hesitant to make that doctor appointment, to face getting your finances in order, or wanted to start working out but felt overwhelmed at the prospect? We are all busy, and there are a million things that get in our way. Our humanness is one of the biggest hindrances because changing human behavior, especially habitual behavior, is one of the hardest things to do. Change is hard but so are a lot of things you have done in your life. This is no different. Your goals don’t care how you feel.

Get started today setting yourself up for success. The more personal and unique your goal is to you, the more likely you are to stick it out. Manipulate your environment and do what you need to to make it most effortless for you. If you want to drink less, get that alcohol out of your refrigerator and even out of your house. Some of you might need to wear your workout gear to bed because getting dressed in the morning is just too much. Get started, find a pace that works for you, and keep going. Before you know it, that new habit will lead to a life transformation.

Sarah Lloyd is a licensed clinical professional counselor and co-owner of the Geneva-based Action Consulting and Therapy.

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