Embracing a new year that’s full of new opportunities

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Let’s face it! Each time a new year is upon us, we anticipate all things “new,” such as new goals, new resolutions, new adventures and even new opportunities. New! New! New! This sometimes becomes overwhelming, making the task of embracing a new year a tad bit awkward. However, having a plan leading into the New Year is necessary. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the majority of people who made New Year’s resolutions and plans in 2015 focused on important aspects such as getting organized, managing or losing weight, spending more time developing better relationships with friends and family, saving and increasing their finances, and enjoying life in general. A recent study conducted by the University of Scranton highlighted that 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, while 38% claim to never make resolutions. Although there are mixed reviews on whether making New Year’s resolutions are effective (with only 8% of Americans being successful in achieving their resolutions according to the study), there still remains the need to develop strategies for approaching the New Year and the goals and opportunities it may present.

In preparation, these three factors should be considered.

Make it a S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measure, Attain, Realistic, Time) start!

When thinking of the what, why, when and where of the year you are about to embrace, the mnemonic acronym S.M.A.R.T. (made popular in the 1980s by George Doran, but examined by Dr. John Norcross to aid others in accepting change) comes to mind. What are you embracing for the New Year? Why is the time to do it now? Are you in a place to embrace new opportunities? The S.M.A.R.T. acronym suggests that you should be specific about what you need to achieve or improve, measure your progress, be able to attain the end results and be realistic about what can be achieved and with what resources. Lastly, understand the time needed to achieve such results.

Find a trusted supporter!

Why keep your ability to embrace new goals and opportunities to yourself? Tell somebody, but not just anybody! The idea is to have someone to keep you accountable, whether that is your circle of support, a good friend, trusted partner or mentor. Someone who will keep you uplifted, engaged and excited about your vision. According to Dr. John Norcross, author of Changeology: Five Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, going public about your goals and resolutions increases the accountability and support that you receive. By increasing your support, you can increase the motivation needed to achieve all of your yearly goals.

Stay optimistic and be relentless!

As you embrace the New Year and alter your habits and routines, know that challenges are likely to occur. It is expected, and it’s okay! Just keep pressing forward! Are you able to remain positive, optimistic and persistent as you address the challenges that are keeping you from achieving success? Being embraced by others is important, but it is more important that you first positively embrace yourself.

As the New Year approaches, consider a plan and embrace it. Some people have vision board parties while others journal and write out a concrete plan for the year. A resolution might not be your answer; however, understanding the direction your life is headed in is fundamental to establishing all that you have envisioned. Don’t be afraid to embrace the New Year. A full year of new opportunities await you!