Happy November everyone! Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week! As we get closer to the end of 2017, I would like to talk about ways you can set yourself up for success when it comes to reaching your goals in 2018. Don’t wait until the beginning of the New Year to act; start now and get a clear definition on what you would like to accomplish. Whether your goal is to lose weight, get a new job, quit smoking, or anything in between, following these steps will help you reach your goal.

When was the last time you said you were thankful for something? Expressing gratitude, even in the smallest amount, is a great way to reflect on your progress while also bringing awareness to your current situation. It has also been proven that people who express gratitude on a consistent basis live happier and healthier lives. So, take 5 minutes out of your day to name at least three things you are thankful for. Do that for 12 weeks and see how your mood improves. There are plenty of people in this world who are happy with less than what you have. As T.I. put it, “Stop lookin at what you ain’t got and start being thankful for what you do got.”

It’s also no secret that most people who make New Year’s Resolutions rarely stick to them after the first 3 months if they even make it past the first week. Why? Plenty of reasons. They try to do too much too fast and get overwhelmed, or abandon ship at the first sign of struggle because they didn’t plan for life’s little obstacles. In today’s world we live for instant gratification and when that doesn’t happen we tend to get frustrated which can lead to giving up altogether. Look, you didn’t gain that extra 20 lbs. in a week so don’t expect to lose it by next Tuesday. Change takes time, have some damn patience. Twelve weeks is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to measure change; give yourself at least that long before you give up hope and cry into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

Another rule for success in 2018 is to let yourself mess up. That’s right. Make mistakes. Make a lot of them. Why? Because that’s how you learn! You think anyone who has ever been successful didn’t make a few mistakes here and there? News Flash! Everyone makes mistakes. As Thomas Edison once said “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Acknowledging the fact that you will make a mistake when it comes to your new goal is not only realistic, but it can help you become better prepared for when you do slip up. Say you accidently ate the entire sleeve of Oreos instead of the 2 you originally planned to have. Take this as a learning opportunity to not buy anymore Oreos (even though they are addictive as crack) and move on with your life. If you can learn even one thing from any mistake you make then it’s not a mistake, it’s a learning opportunity. How many learning opportunities can you make in 12 weeks? Let’s find out.

Now that we know mistakes can happen the last rule is to have some compassion, towards yourself and others. Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes; simply reset and try again. And if your friends or family offer you something that isn’t in line with your goals, don’t react negatively towards them. They didn’t have (insert fad diet) in your grandmother’s day. She has no clue what the hell you’re talking about. Give her a break.

Alright readers here’s the breakdown for achieving your goals in the new year or whenever you so please.
• Express gratitude for the things you do have every single day.
• Set your goals. Make them specific.
• Have patience. Don’t measure your progress until you’ve made it through at least 12 weeks of working towards your goal.
• Make mistakes. Learn from them.
• Be Compassionate. We could all use a little more of that.