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Starting strong in 2020

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Human Resources

This month, we look at some ideas on how to start strong in the new year.

It’s a new year, and it can be a great time to plan for a happier, healthier you in 2020. Whatever your challenges, accomplishments, and struggles going into 2020, taking time to organize your thoughts, set your goals, and face your challenges will set you up for a stronger chance of success! Below we have presented some ideas on how to start the new year running strong.

Reflect on the previous year:

Before beginning to plan for the new year, it can be helpful to reflect on the year that has just passed.  Set aside time alone to think about what went well, and what you wish went differently over the last year. It can be helpful to determine what was and was not under your control.  What was your favorite memory? How about your biggest priority? Give yourself credit for everything you were able to accomplish. Maybe consider writing a journal entry about the year, using an online guide to help you reflect, or discussing with a family member or friend.

Set Specific Goals:

New Year’s resolutions are a classic ritual for many in January, but sometimes people set themselves up for failure by aiming for too many changes too quickly, or attempting too broad or sweeping a change.   Instead, set a few specific, manageable goals. Focus on goals that can be turned into digestible steps. For instance, “lose weight” can be turned into “eat servings of vegetables or fruit three times this week,” or “go for a brisk walk at least twice this week.”

Shift to Positive Thinking:

Sometimes a statement like this can seem simplistic, but how you frame challenges or goals can be extremely important.   It’s easy to let negative self-talk creep in when your goals all begin with "no." No sugar. No alcohol. Try shifting your thinking to something more specific that you want, instead of only focusing on what you can't do. For instance, "incorporate more fruits and veggies each week," "drink responsibly and on special occasions.” This simple shift in thinking can make a big difference in the way you view yourself throughout the year.

Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes:

Many people become discouraged and self-critical if they begin to slip up or struggle with meeting their goals. You are only human! Try not to let a slip up build momentum into no action, and get back to it the next day.  Set your expectations appropriately, some days you will miss your goals and that does not mean you have failed to achieve them for the year.

Reach Out for Support:

Trying to enact change or even just maintain what you have can be hard and feeling alone or isolated can make it even harder.    Maybe you tried to overcome a big loss or life change, or break-up all on your own, but are still feeling down. Counseling may be a good option. Your PCP can make a referral, or you can use Psychology Today to search for a local provider. The Employee Assistance Program can also help employees locate an array of services. If you faced hardship in 2019, the beginning of 2020 is a good time to regain and relearn coping skills, and get back to feeling like yourself again. 

Happy 2020!