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Offered by Jessica Ahmed, Licensed Acupuncturist

Happy New Year! On January 1st of every year, there is a surge of hope and optimism that, according to recent research, drives 45% of us to make resolutions including weight loss (#1 most popular), getting organized (#2) and spending less/saving more money (#3). Often by mid-February, frustrated that we have not achieved our goals and disappointed by our setbacks, we abandon our resolutions altogether. Since only 8% of resolution-makers are successful in achieving their goals, it sounds like a lot of us could use a little help. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Set realistic goals.
While you may *want* to lose ten pounds each month for the next six months, that sort of weight loss would require extreme changes in diet and lifestyle. In addition, when we alter our habits too drastically in a short period of time, we run the risk of falling back into old, comfortable patterns. Aiming for more realistic and sustainable goals will help create longterm success.

Write down your goals.
People who record every single thing they eat are more likely to make healthy food choices than those who do not. Similarly, writing down goals in other areas makes them more real. Step it up a level and work backward from your end goal, setting deadlines for small, manageable tasks that will help you hit your target.

Create a support system.
Team up with a friend or family member who has a similar goal, and work together toward achieving it. You can also set up a regularly scheduled call with someone you trust to be reliable and honest with you about your progress, or you can do what I do and have text message check-ins. In my own life, I am striving to be more physically active, so I have a friend send me texts asking about my exercise plan for the week, and then I check in with her once my workouts are completed. It helps me plan my exercise in advance, and the embarrassment of my friend seeing me have a lazy week often gets to me to put on my workout clothes, and the rest is easy from there!

Get professional help.
Whether you want to be more financially secure, a better cook, or rid your body of aches and pains (feel free to call me for help with that one!), consider hiring someone who gets paid to be an expert in that field. Investing a little money as well as time makes your commitment more serious, and having a pro as your guide increases the likelihood of success by giving you an extra level of accountability.

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