Remember your New Year’s resolutions? It’s not too late to reach them

With just under 100 days left in the year, maybe you have long given up on meeting your goals of 2015.

But this is no time to give up on 2015. You can still finish the year strong.

“You can push the reset button. Whether it’s losing weight, quitting smoking, getting organized or climbing out of debt, everyone can still reach their goals,” says Steve Siebold, author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class ($16.99;London House Press), also a former professional tennis player. “The best thing you can do is achieve your resolutions. The worst thing you can do is have a great start for the new year.”

To reach your goals, Siebold urges people be specific about what they want to change, expect to suffer or feel discomfort, and remember: “winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

Many times, he says, the only thing that separates winners from losers is the thought process. Winners have a “whatever it takes” attitude, said Siebold, who lives in Gainesville.

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Here are some more tips for rebooting your 2015 New Year’s resolutions from Dr. J. Kip Matthews, an Athens psychologist:

Take it slow. Break your goal down step by step. For example, if the goal is to exercise more, start with three days a week for 30 minutes (as opposed to going for an hour of cardio, six days a week). For those seeking family dinners, start with at least one home-cooked meal with the family per week and then gradually move toward three days a week. The same goes for learning an instrument. You don’t need to devote hours every day to your new interest. Start with one lesson per week and practicing twice a week. Add time little by little. And remember, he says, there will be the occasional “slips” along the way. It’s important to anticipate these lapses and have a strategy for how to move through them. This will help avoid the urge to just give up.

Harness willpower to meet your goals. The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey revealed that lack of willpower was the most commonly cite barrier to making change (32 percent said lack of willpower kept them from making a change). However, willpower can be strengthened over time. Building self-control through focusing on one goal at a time and avoiding temptations can help you leverage willpower toward making those lifestyle changes.

Focus on the process and not the outcome. Rather than judging yourself based on outcomes over which you have little or no control, direct your attention to the process (the activities themselves) that make up the goal. For example, if someone is wanting to be a better student, don’t focus so much on the grades, but rather on what it means to be a good student including reading the text before class, reviewing your notes, attending study groups, etc. This strategy greatly enhances motivation and a consistent view of oneself. By doing this, you are able to adopt a “here-and-now” way of being and position yourself to let go of the past. So even if you haven’t accomplished your resolutions yet, you don’t need to be discouraged….focus on the what is being asked of you right now, in this moment.

Think about what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals. Every choice and decision we make involves letting go of something. If your resolutions are important to you and you are placing a high priority on those changes, then you need to consider what things in your life are less important that you are willing to let go of. Once you are clear on this, it helps to prevent any sense of regret that comes with making change.

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