Practical Advice Kristina Welker

New Year’s resolutions were first practiced in ancient Rome when worshippers offered good conduct to the god Janus. Resolving to change in the new year continues today. Researchers estimate that about 60 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions fail.

And although this sounds dire, people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to succeed than those who simply desire a change. People who reach their goals diligently follow several steps.

Compose a mission statement. This statement must clearly state your goals. It must be realistic, measurable and attainable.

List your goals and create an action plan. You have to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. For example, if you asked the question, “How do I get to San Diego” and I responded with, “Just take any road and you will lead you there.” What are the odds of you actually reaching your destination?

Write down the date in which you plan to complete your goals. Next, look at your list of friends and determine which ones are supportive. Choose one or more of these friends as your accountability partners and tell them your plan. Ask them to call you periodically throughout the year to check on your progress. Their encouragement will help you stay focused.

Next, ask yourself the questions, “What are my stressors and what has prevented me from previously attaining my goals.” List the obstacles that you know you are going to face and figure out how you will overcome them.

Reflect on the reasons that your last goals didn’t work. Also, think back to a time that you set a goal and achieved it. What worked? Then give yourself reasons why once again you will succeed.

Replace your negative statements with positive ones. Let go of the idea of perfection. Holding yourself to this standard will quickly set you up for failure. When you slip up, forgive yourself and start again. Transform your thoughts, because your brain believes what it perceives.

With clear goals, an end date, accountability partners, discipline, persistence, and inspirations/motivation, you can reach your ultimate goals.

If you have more questions about how to set and reach your objectives, hire a life coach who will help by providing structure, support, validation, encouragement, and accountability.

Make 2014 the year of successful change!

• Dr. Kristina Welker is a licensed professional counselor, a Christian life coach, and a member of the Ahwatukee Foothills Behavioral Health Network. Reach her at (480) 893-6767 or

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