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Taking right steps can help people achieve New Year’s resolutions

An estimated 8 percent of Americans achieve their New Year’s resolutions, so it’s obvious that many more people fail than succeed in attaining those goals. However, there are ways people can position themselves for a more successful outcome when they strive to lose weight, get organized, quit smoking, save more money or reach some other goal.

An estimated 8 percent of Americans achieve their New Year’s resolutions, so it’s obvious that many more people fail than succeed in attaining those goals. However, there are ways people can position themselves for a more successful outcome when they strive to lose weight, get organized, quit smoking, save more money or reach some other goal.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- An estimated 8 percent of Americans achieve their New Year’s resolutions, so it’s obvious that many more people fail than succeed in attaining those goals.

However, there are ways people can position themselves for a more successful outcome when they strive to lose weight, get organized, quit smoking, save more money or reach some other goal.

The SMART Goal Planning concept provides one template for success, said Gina Ramirez, 359th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Flight outreach/resiliency coordinator.

“SMART means the goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and trackable,” she said.

Losing 10 pounds in three months is an example of a goal that meets SMART criteria, Ramirez said.

“It’s specific; measurable; attainable through an eating, exercise and stress plan; realistic if the individual is willing to put in the hours of exercise and relaxation to make it happen; and trackable through an app like MyFitnessPal,” she said.

Examples of unrealistic goals are someone else’s goal that is placed upon an individual, a goal an individual is not motivated to complete and a goal that has no completion date and is not specific enough, Ramirez said.

Motivation plays an important role in achieving goals.

“We are motivated by three factors: fear, duty and doing something you love,” Ramirez said. “Finding a personal reason to complete a goal is a good way to ensure success.”

Individuals also must devote enough time to their effort.
“It takes six to eight weeks to form a habit,” she said. “It takes consistency and commitment to preparation and planning.”

Norma Leal, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Family Advocacy Program outreach manager, also stressed the importance of making realistic New Year’s resolutions.

“Some steps to take would be to have a plan and resources available,” she said. “For example, family advocacy offers classes to help with anger management. If an individual would like to make a resolution to be more patient or not get so angry, they could make plans to attend one of our anger management classes.”

Planning plays a major role in attaining goals, Leal said.
“We can’t just say I’m losing 50 pounds this year but not plan to change our diet or exercise regimen,” she said.

Bumps in the road can be expected, Leal said.

“Change is an ongoing thing,” she said. “If someone is trying to change a part of their lifestyle, they should be prepared for possible setbacks.

“If you deviate from the plan, you don’t have to toss the plan,” Leal said. “Reset and start trying again.”

Writing down their goals is another way individuals can stick to their resolutions, said James Price, 59th Medical Wing FAP outreach manager.

“Individuals seem to make a more committed effort to achieve their goals if they put their wishes on paper versus just in their head,” he said. “You should also put them in a place where you can see them every day.”

Price also suggested breaking goals into short, measurable results; sharing goals with another person; and being flexible.

“You can have the best laid-out plan and everything is running like clockwork, then an unexpected emergency arises that can throw everything off,” he said. “Don’t get discouraged; try to think positively and optimistically. Instead of thinking I failed at my new year’s resolution or goal, think of tomorrow as a new day and strive to continue where you got temporarily delayed.”