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What About Those Pesky New Year's Resolutions?

How many New Year’s resolutions have you made - and then never followed through with? Most of us have at least once or twice. (Or 4 or 5 or 12 times….)

But if you’re divorcing, or going through big life changes, new goals are going to become part of your life for a while.

So how do you create goals that are attainable, and then actually achieve them?

Brainstorm. Don’t be afraid to dream big. You can cross things off your list that are unattainable, but those more “stretchy” goals may inspire you to something that is doable.

Don’t create too many goals at once. Decide on the most urgent and important things, and work on them first. For example, is it more important and/or urgent to find a new job, or lose 20 pounds?

Use the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting system. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Reasonable, and Time Sensitive. A goal is just a dream unless you’re acting on it; when you do act on it, the goal should be specific, with measurable steps toward completion, based on your own action, be reasonable, and have a deadline.

Create an Action Plan. Outline the steps necessary to achieve your goal. Break those steps down into manageable, bite-sized tasks. Working backward from the date you want to finish, schedule each task into your calendar.

Reward yourself for the small wins. Even if it’s only a pat on the back and a round of applause, reward yourself every time you make progress toward your goal. Get some gold stars for your calendar!

Remember that you only have to make progress; you don’t have to be perfect! Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves, especially if a goal is exciting or life changing. As long as you’re making progress, you are one step closer to achieving your goal! You might take three steps forward and two back, but you’re still moving ahead. Be grateful for your progress.

These steps can be used for all kinds of goals, not just New Year’s resolutions. If you’d like to have a professional guide you during big life changes, stressful events like divorce, or just to cheer you on and hold you accountable, schedule a virtual coffee with me:

We’ll talk about what’s holding you back from your dream job, creating a new life for yourself, expanding your family, or making time to enjoy life - and then get you started on the path to waking up happy in the morning again.

Susan Petang is a Certified Stress Management Coach who works with anyone who feels overwhelmed by life. You can learn more about her and her program at


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