Ah, 2011. Some see it as a fresh start, a chance to start over, and the year to make things happen. Whether your resolutions include weight loss, going back to school, joining a church, becoming a better person, being more involved in your community, or even to just not make the same mistakes you may have made in 2010, you are on a great path already.

The key to reaching your goals and keeping true to your resolutions is to stay positive. There are going to be times when you just don't feel like going to the gym throughout the year. Does that mean you should give up on your resolution? Absolutely not!

Instead of getting discouraged handle it this way: "I don't feel like going to the gym, but I wouldn't mind going out for a nice walk or riding my bike to the movie theater instead."

If your resolution was to return back to school this year, are you going to give up if the school of your choice is too expensive or you didn't get accepted? Of course not! There are plenty of other options out there for you such as cheaper schools, scholarships, grants, tuition reimbursements and more.

What about if you accidentally repeated a mistake you made in 2010 that you swore to yourself you would never make again? Whether it was in regards to finances, relationships or maybe even friendships? Are you just going to throw your resolutions out the window? No.

Instead, just keep teaching yourself that it was a mistake, that you are human, and that at least you are getting better at catching yourself early on. We all make mistakes so we can learn from them, and although the trick is to not repeat them year after year, eventually you will realize that you are learning and you won't make the same ones anymore. In fact, you will probably make different ones!

If we never made mistakes we would never make any progress or learn in our lives. The important thing is that you are catching yourself when you are making the mistake, and that you are learning from it, so in time you won't make that mistake anymore.

With all of these scenarios of course anyone can get discouraged if they haven't lost their 30-pound goal that they wanted to lose overnight. Or not get enrolled to the first school of their choice. Or if they couldn't help but make the same mistake they made the previous year.

Sometimes we are going to get disappointed because the things we wanted in the time frame we wanted may not always work out. But that doesn't mean that is the end of the line for us. That just means that there is something better for us that lies ahead. You may not lose 30 pounds overnight like you planned, but you can probably lose a few pounds a week and meet your goal weight in a matter of months. You may not get the first school of your choice, but maybe the third school that you got accepted to works out better with your work schedule or family life. You may make the same mistake again within the month of January this year, but maybe by March when you were about to do it again, you caught yourself this time beforehand and prevented it from happening again.

It is all about your perspective. Stay positive this year and don't get discouraged if you have a rocky start to your 2011 New Year's resolutions. Just know that deep down inside of you, you want to reach your goals bad enough, so you have the will power in you to do so. By staying positive and having a more optimistic perspective, you will be successful with all of your resolutions this year.

You are already changing your perspective if this column caught your eye and you are reading it.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle "Mikey" Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice; however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at www.myaskmikey.com or myaskmikey@yahoo.com.

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