Be Realistic in the New Year

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Nobody is perfect.

"This year, I'm going to climb Mount Everest!"

Humans around the world accomplish the most incredible feats every day. Who knows? You may be one of them. For those who want to achieve small, yet significant goals in the new year, being realistic about what you seek to accomplish could push you across the finish line sooner than you'd think.

Don't overload yourself.

Think simply. Don't try to change everything but the kitchen sink. (Unless your sink needs updating; then definitely add that to your list.) Attempting a complete overhaul may be tempting, though chances are you will burn out really quickly. Take a look at the things in your life that matter most to you: What demands your immediate attention? Accomplishing smaller goals along the way will empower you to move onto newer and bigger ones.

If hitting the gym is on the docket, start out slowly.

"The key here is to focus on small increments of weight loss," said Cheryl Moroney, Bouncing Fitness owner and Certified Bellicon Trainer. "Start by losing five pounds. Once that's accomplished, set another five-pound weight-loss goal. The same is true for exercise: Start with a twice-a-week goal until you feel your body has adjusted and you can up the ante."

Keep your fitness goals focused and change things up to prevent boredom, and you'll eventually look forward to working out. Consider trying something new, such as adult classes at Grand Rapids Ballet or a well-rounded, full-body class with CKO Kickboxing.

"Set SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, time-bound—because it can be overwhelming and a fool's errand to expect too much, too quickly," said Shelby Reno, CKO Kickboxing owner and trainer. "Establishing healthy habits in anything we do requires a marathon mindset, not a sprint approach."

Jot down your successes.

Start a journal and document what made you feel great and what didn't; it can serve as a way to look back and see how far you've come and grown and provide much-needed perspective in times of doubt.

Along with writing them down, share your successes with friends and family. For many, support is essential to accomplishing goals, regardless of what category they fall into. Those you care about most can't best support you if they don't know what cool stuff you have going on!


You may be telling yourself, "I knew this was going to be hard, but I didn't know it would be THIS hard!"

Take a step back. Remember that good things can be immediately available, but great things take time and effort. It pays off to plan ahead and map out specific times dedicated to what you wish to achieve, whether that's reading more, dining out less or spending more time with your family.

If you're looking for ways to make things easier for yourself, Reno notes it's helpful to pack your gym bag during your bedtime routine—so you're not stuffing it at the last-minute before your workout the next day.

Be nice to and reward yourself.

This includes both mental and physical aspects.

"As the Nutritional Consultant for the pharmacy, I can schedule one-on-one appointments to help you reach your health goals," said Brandi Grimmer of Keystone Pharmacy.

"Most people I meet with are dealing with underlying digestive issues, stress and fatigue, and/or inflammation. Dietary changes are key, but many need additional nutritional support and supplements."

If you can, find someone to share your goals with. Use that person as your accountability partner.

And be sure to treat yourself every now and then.

"Set small milestones," said Reno. "When you achieve the minis, buy yourself something useful but special—like a pair of boxing gloves in a fun design, colorful interval training shoes, a one-on-one pad training session to hone your strike technique, or a fancy water bottle."

Mostly, remember this: Nobody is perfect, even if Instagram may indicate otherwise. Approach the new year with grace and a personal mantra filled with kindness toward yourself.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman.

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