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Failing at your New Year's resolutions already?

Resolutions
The new year is still young, and many people are already struggling to keep promises they made as part of their New Year’s resolutions. Tanis Taylor, a mind-body therapist at our hospital in Tulsa, has developed a list of tips for setting goals you might actually achieve.

The new year is still young, and many people are already struggling to keep promises they made as part of their New Year’s resolutions. Why is it so tough to keep going? Our mind-body providers developed a list of tips for setting goals you might actually achieve. The problem for many people who fail is that their goals are not realistic or attainable. When setting your goals, there are four steps you can take:

Keep it simple. For example: I want to save money this year.

Make it specific. For example: I want to save $5,000 this year to put towards a new car. 

Share it. Tell your friends, family or significant other what your goal is. There is something powerful that happens when we share our goals with the people in our lives.

Imagine it. Picture yourself in the new car. What will it look like, smell like and feel like when you drive it? Begin to visualize yourself in that specific vehicle.

The domains of wellness

If you aren’t sure what your goals should be, one way to get started is to focus on the five primary domains of wellness. Most resolutions or goals fall into one of these categories:

Mental: This refers to our ability to pursue knowledge, to think critically about issues, identify problems and develop solutions and make sound decisions. For example, perhaps you have always wanted to go back to school to get your master’s degree or pursue a certain certification. Start by researching the program online, learning the steps to enroll and how much it will cost.

Emotional: This refers to a positive self-concept, the ability to deal constructively with your feelings and develop and strengthen positive qualities like optimism or resiliency. For example, if you find yourself constantly feeling down or having negative thoughts, begin a gratitude journal. Get a journal with colors and textures that appeal to you, and each night before you go to bed, reflect on your day and write down three to five things you are grateful for. You will be surprised how your mindset will begin to change.

Physical: This refers to our overall physical health, the act of engaging in appropriate physical activity and fueling your body appropriately. For example, maybe you want to lose a few pounds or lower your blood pressure. Meeting a friend for yoga or a workout class once a week can get you started and give you some accountability to follow through.

Spiritual: This involves developing and understanding your personal belief system and the values that provide a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. Spirituality is different for everyone. It could be finding a church, praying, meditating or joining a small group. Think about what that means for you, and commit to completing spiritual activity once a week. Then share this goal with someone close to you and ask them to keep you accountable.

Social: This refers to developing and maintaining meaningful relationships and finding ways to contribute to our communities. Perhaps there is a friend with whom you have lost touch and you want to rekindle that relationship. Make a plan to meet that person for coffee, or lunch. Instead of engaging in small talk, be purposeful, ask questions and have a meaningful conversation.

New Year’s resolutions are a popular pastime—45 percent of Americans “usually” make them, according to research compiled by the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology. But the success rate is low—just 8 percent report successfully following through on their resolutions. This year, take a few extra steps to solidify your goals, and maybe you could turn those goals into accomplishments.