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Starting Strong in the New Year

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January 9, 2017

For many people 2016 was a tough year, so it’s understandable that many of us were thrilled when it was over. But the new year won’t bring miracles; we have to step up and do our part if we want to achieve our goals in 2017. Sometimes small attitude adjustments can make a tremendous difference. Here are some suggestions to help you start the new year out strong—and to keep you inspired no matter what comes your way.  

Accept Setbacks

Maybe you planned to wake up on January 1st and have a carb-free, high protein breakfast, but a friend showed up with a basket of baked goods. If you ate some of them, don’t beat yourself up—or give up on your resolutions.  

Life is going to challenge you and you have to be prepared for slips and setbacks. Instead of throwing in the towel, make a plan for how you will handle temptations in the future, and redouble your efforts.

Cultivate Perspective—and Gratitude

One of the phenomena that marked 2016 was the loss of so many iconic musicians, artists, and other public figures in what felt like a relentless wave of shocking deaths.

The only silver lining to such loses is the perspective they can provide. If you miss your yoga class, can’t find a parking space, or have to quit your run because of a rainstorm, instead of being glum, try to be grateful that you still have tomorrow. If you are frustrated because your house is cluttered, or you don’t have money for a necessary renovation, consider the many people who don’t have anywhere to live at all. Most of us have far more to be grateful for than we realize. 

Take Baby Steps

No matter how determined you are to change, you won’t lose weight, stop negative thinking, or abandon bad habits overnight. You will have to work to make these changes, and sometimes the results will be hard to detect. Some people seem to have an easy time accomplishing goals. but most of us will need to break them down into smaller, more manageable steps.

Instead of saying you are going gluten-free as of January 1, for example, start out by trying to eliminate gluten from your diet three days a week. Once you’ve mastered that, add another day, and another day until you have reached your goal. You might take longer to reach your goal, but a measured, realistic approach will lead to longer lasting changes and that is what really matters.

With the New Year only days old, you may already be berating yourself for not being perfect. Don’t! If you embrace life, roll with the punches, and chip away at your goals, you will be able to look back at 2017 with an appreciation for all you have accomplished in just twelve short months!

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