The end of another year often leads to evaluation, reflection and for many, regret. We wish we had done more of one thing or better with another. We promise that next year will be different. If that sounds familiar here is another thing to think about – what’s wrong with now? The New Year isn’t the only time for a new start. Every day, every moment offers a chance to begin again. If you have a few resolutions on your to do list, there is no time like the present to make a plan that helps you keep your promises to yourself.

No matter your goal (save more, weigh less are among the most common) the time to make a change is when you are:

  • Aware change is needed – Maybe you visited the doctor recently and were told you are prediabetic or have high blood pressure. Maybe your jeans are too tights. This information could prompt you to take to your bed (woe is me) or take action (it is up to me to change this situation).
  • Motivated to make the change – you’ve decided to take action and fight for your health. You are motivated to make improvements that help you avoid chronic illness and improve your quality of life. Write down why achieving the goal matters to you. What will it mean to accomplish your goal? How will your life or situation be changed?
  • (Have a) Plan to make a change – get creative with it. If you don’t like jogging try Zumba or Pound. Just figure out how to get moderate to vigorous exercise at least four times per week. Check out the Internet or magazines for healthier food choices that you actually enjoy (they really do exist). Think about when you will shop and how children will be cared for if you have them.

In other words you are ready as soon as you are AMPed. You can get amped up anytime, including now. Putting things off often makes them feel more burdensome. Harness the power of now to create the changes you want to make.

Steady wins the race

If you have more than one resolution pick the one you are most likely to be successful with and start there. Especially with the holiday season approaching, too many changes at once can feel overwhelming. Studies have shown that too much too soon can lead to failure. Instead choose four changes and start working on your plan every 90 days. That gives you plenty of time to adjust. If you aren’t doing so well with a goal, don’t give up. Recommit to it, tweak your plan and begin again.

Be accountable

Tell someone that cares about you your goal. Let them know how you want to be supported. For example, would encouraging text messages or weekly phone calls help? You may also want to review your plan with your accountability partner. Sometimes talking about goals out loud can help you identify any fears or obstacles. Be honest about your feelings and make contingency plans. Remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Identify success

Exactly what will you do? Being specific instead of vague makes it easy to know when you hit your target. Rather than say you want to eat better decide you will eat minimally processed food at least 70% of the time or you will have 6 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Let the holidays help

You are likely to share special time with friends and family that share your goals. Why not decide together to start on your goals right away? On January 1 you will be ahead of the game because you took advantage of a head start on a new habit.