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Karen Bermel LIMHP, MC

Happy 2014 everyone! Today is Monday and I drove to work in sub-zero temperatures and dangerously cold wind-chill factor. This is happening all over the Midwest; many schools and businesses are closed for the day. As I sit here in my Alegent Creighton office writing my January blog, I am glad to be safe and warm. I really hope that you are safe and warm too.

For so many of us, January is time of starting over, of rethinking the last year – the successes, the missed opportunities – and the new possibilities. A new year seems to invite us all to a fresh start. And, even though it’s bitter cold, new life, new energy, new possibilities are emerging.

So, what are the new possibilities emerging for you this year? Are you considering a class, getting a new job, learning to drive, spending more time with your kids, or starting an exercise routine? Whenever we start something new, it is usually filled with some excitement that the changes we are making will be successful. There can also be some anxiety about how to make it happen and how to stick to the plan.

I have a few suggestions that, while not new, seem timeless and quite helpful with regard to starting over, setting new goals and reaching for new possibilities. Some of you may have already heard of setting goals the SMART way, so this might be just a reminder for some; for others, this may be a new way to think about how to set the course to reach out for those new possibilities. My apologies for not knowing who to credit the original concept of SMART goals. Several websites have loads of information about SMART goals. I found the website topachievement.com very helpful for the information I’m sharing with you today.

SMART stands for:
Specific – What specifically do you hope to accomplish?
Measureable – How do you want to measure your progress?
Attainable – What steps do you need to take to get there?
Realistic – Are you willing and able to do what it takes?
Timely – When do you want to have this accomplished?

The topachievement.com website gives a great example :

General Goal                                   Specific Goal

I want to get in shape.                  I want to join a health club and work out 3-4 days a week.

The general goal above of wanting to get in shape is a great idea, but the specific goal of joining a health club and working out 3-4 days a week has more of a commitment behind it.

The other thing I want to mention is that goals can be started, stopped, and renegotiated at any time of year. While the New Year holds the invitation for new achievements, the fresh start can begin at any time of year. My personal invitation to each of you is to consider the above ideas for setting those SMART goals and see how it goes. As always, I would enjoy hearing how your New Year is starting and if you have set any goals.

Happy New Year!



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