In our previous post we discussed some of the most common New Year’s resolutions and how to better prepare to reach your goal in 2015. While that post was very general about how to achieve your goals in the New Year, we thought we would break down some of the most common resolutions and give you some more specific ideas.

So how can you pick the right goal for yourself and achieve success in 2015?

While every New Year’s resolution is going to be tailored to any individual, there are some things to keep in mind. For instance, it is easier to focus on two or three specific pieces of the final outcome rather than try to take on everything at once. Once you establish what it is you want to achieve it can be easier to draw up a plan that you can actually follow. Here are some ideas to consider.

Lose weight

Obesity can be a contributor to increased chronic pain. Conditions such as osteoarthritis cause stress on the joints which can be exacerbated by excess body weight. In cases like this, losing weight may be more than a personal desire, it may be essential for better overall health. If you’ve been struggling with your weight over the last year or longer, now may be a good time to work on getting it under control with a fresh start after the holiday season. You may want to specifically focus on cutting out foods that are high in fat or calories. You can replace these with fresher, healthier choices.

Many people who want to lose weight as a New Year’s resolution often get caught up in the numbers on the scale. While the actual loss of pounds is the ultimate goal, changing your lifestyle to better manage your health will help you accomplish this in a more natural way. Don’t stress over the scale each week trying to determine where you went wrong. Use tools to help you completely change the way you approach food and nutrition and pay more attention to the changes in your body that make you feel better overall.

Volunteer to help others

In the past we’ve talked extensively about the health benefits of volunteering. Doing good things for others can really help you feel better about yourself, not just emotionally but also physically. More volunteering is a great resolution for the New Year, but it helps to have a goal to stick to the process. Start by determining what organizations fit in with your mission and personal values. Working with local organizations can also be easier than trying to volunteer for national institutions.

If you have issues with mobility, start by finding out what you may be able to do from home. Some organizations need help with fundraising which you may be able to do via email or over the phone. Or, you can do something small and not-labor intensive like donate to the community food bank once a month. Even the littlest things will be met with appreciation.

Quit smoking

Smoking, much like excess weight, can be detrimental to someone already dealing with issues surrounding chronic pain conditions. Smokers are at higher risk for multiple health concerns such as heart disease and stroke. Quitting really could be a matter of life or death. But, smoking is an addiction and as such it needs to be treated appropriately. In fact, during the process of quitting a smoker may start to feel more intense pain resulting in the desire to continue with cigarettes.

The best way to quit smoking is to work with someone trained in smoking cessation techniques. There are multiple options including medications, counseling, and even hypnotism that have been effective for some people. Don’t be discouraged when a method doesn’t work for you either. Personalized programs are necessary and not everyone reacts the same way to the same methods.

Get a better job

According to the American Institute on Stress, 80% of workers indicate that they feel stress on the job. 25% say their job is the number one cause of stress in their lives and 40% believe that their job is exceptionally stressful. All of this stress in the workplace is literally killing us. Not only does it cause hypertension and increased risk of heart disease, but it will absolutely exacerbate pre-existing chronic pain conditions. The problem is that getting another job doesn’t necessarily solve the problem and many people continue this cycle of workplace stress as they transition from job to job throughout their careers.

It is far more important to determine what it is about your job, workplace, or coworkers that are causing the issues. Is there a way to change this while remaining in your current job? If not, when searching for a new opportunity use this information to find an environment that is a better fit for your personality and work style. It is possible to take the stress out of your job by making strategic decisions that work better for you.

Take a trip

More fun than losing weight, quitting smoking, and finding a new job combined; this potential New Year’s resolution can help you find peace and happiness in 2015. Travel can broaden the mind and give you a new perspective on your life. Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to go but never thought it could happen? Start working toward making that a reality.

The first step is to establish a budget and begin to squirrel away extra money to help with the costs. Create a motivational board to help you visualize the trip. You can make a physical collage that you can hang in your office or kitchen to keep you motivated. Or, you can use Pinterest to create an online portfolio of things you want to do on your trip. Do you have some concerns about traveling with a chronic pain condition? Talk to others who have taken similar trips and find out what accommodations or assistance is available.

Make 2015 the best yet!

Using the right tools, setting the right goals for your specific lifestyle, and sticking with the process are the most important things you can do to change your life for the next year. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to succeed when you give yourself the best chance to make it happen.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2015 and how will you achieve it?

Image by Carol VanHook via Flickr


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