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A New Perspective on New Years

My mother gave me a gift not too long ago: a book on setting goals. To this day, it is still sitting on a shelf unopened. Why? It isn’t because I don’t set goals –I do! It’s just that the book she gave me was about setting your sights on where you want to be five years from now. With RA, I know better than to think I can plan that far ahead. Things change on a regular basis. So when I’m doing my goal setting, I take a different approach.

Look at the whole pie, but only take one piece at a time

I do have a New Year’s Resolution, which is to lose about 18 pounds. That will put me close to what I weighed when I married my husband a few years ago (before I got the RA diagnosis). To some people, that may not seem like much, but it’s going to be a real challenge for me.

If I look at that goal, it’s overwhelming and so I’m breaking it down into smaller goals. No longer do I have one BIG 18-pound goal; I have three SMALL 6-pound goals. I will reward myself as I achieve each small goal, so that if my RA flares up and I have a setback that keeps me from being able to reach the full 18-pound loss, at least I will have a smaller achievement or two to celebrate.

Take tiny bites and enjoy chewing each one

Did you know that when we crave food, we are often just craving the flavor? That is why we don’t always need to have an entire dessert. A few little bites, enjoyed to the fullest, can satisfy our desires without adding to our waistline. And just in the same way I will use that technique to help me lose weight, you can use it in achieving your New Year’s resolutions as well. Pack Health calls it “tiny goals.”

With tiny goals, you can learn that small actions taken each day can add up to a huge amount of progress over time. Need to reduce your stress? A 5-minute meditation each morning or evening might be a great way to start, and you might really enjoy it! Want to add steps to your day? Maybe you could begin by walking down every aisle of the grocery store before you start going down your shopping list. Think of it as a “buying adventure” and those extra steps instantly become more fun. Any goal can be made easier and more enjoyable if you take it in tiny bite-size pieces.

Don’t be afraid to hit the reset button

If you cook, you’ll know there’s nothing worse than getting ready to put something in the oven, only to just then realize you left out an ingredient or missed a step along the way. You hate to throw out all the hard work you’ve already put into it, and start all over again, but you know you may have to if you’re going to have it turn out right.

It’s the same way with New Year’s resolutions. So often, people set them and yet they don’t follow through with everything they should, and so they give up. They assume they’ll never get there, when the reality is that perhaps they just need to try again!

No matter what your goal for the New Year, you can do this!

Just break it into manageable pieces, use tiny goals to achieve them, and hit the reset button if you need to. Remember that even small progress is a step in the right direction, if you just resolve not to give up.