‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions

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    Every New Year’s Eve, millions of Americans resolve to make their life better. Whether that includes getting healthier, becoming wealthier or striving for a work-life balance, these resolutions often don’t go any further than thoughts in our minds.
    Set your intentions for the new year by writing down what you want to give your attention to in 2020. Research shows by writing down your intentions, you are more likely to work toward them and succeed in reaching them. Out of that list of intentions, rate and prioritize what is most valuable and important. Then set goals. Lacking goals is like taking a trip without making a plan or having a destination; you’ll never know where you are going to end up.
    Written goals increase your chances of accomplishing the behavior you desire. Written goals make it easier to plan action steps, monitor progress and define the end date. Setting a goal such as getting healthier this year is not specific enough. Behavior change occurs if there are written goals which include a deadline.
    Improving your life requires planning, and it starts with setting smart goals. Smart goals should have criteria that correspond to each of the following categories: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
    • Make goals that are specific: clearly defined or outlined: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
    • Make goals that are measurable: How will you measure your progress; what do you want to do?
    • Goals that are attainable: neither too easy, nor too hard to accomplish. Is it likely to happen? Is it achievable? What steps are involved?
    • Make goals that are realistic: What knowledge, skills, resources and abilities are necessary to reach this goal?
    • Make goals that have a time line: When will it start? When will it finish? Will it be a short-term goal or a long-term goal? Set a specific deadline to the goal.
    Identify small, do-able “action steps.” Procrastination is easy. Tomorrow always seems like a good day to make changes. With the small-steps approach, anything you do towards your goal is a step in the right direction. No step is too small to get started.
    Consider the major obstacles that keep getting in your way. Identify them and make plans to overcome them. Is it denial, fear, lack of clear goals or just not knowing where to start? Obstacles and relapses are normal. Prepare for them by thinking about the following:
    • What are obstacles that keep me from achieving these goals?
    • What are strategies to overcome each obstacle?
    • What factors have caused me to relapse in the past?
    • What can I do to address these factors in the future?
    Friends or family can be a resource or an obstacle. Enlist the support of the people that will help you be accountable to your goals. Make a commitment to change so they can be encouraging and motivating to you on your journey.
    Often goals seem insurmountable, but put your mind to it. Negative thoughts such as “I can never do this” are common. Instead, think positive thoughts, such as, “I can do this one small step at a time.” Keep imagining how good it will feel to reach a goal.
    Finally, take time to celebrate all of the small steps you achieved along the way. Taking small steps, being realistic and staying positive will help you keep your intentions in the New Year.
    Happy new year.
    Upcoming events
    January/February 2020: Support your local 4-H Program by purchasing soup from a 4-H member.
    Jan. 18, 2020: Cottage Foods Certification, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Extension office. This certification allows certain foods to be produced in home kitchens and be sold directly to the consumer. For more information, please call the office at 264-5931. To register, go to www.eventbrite.com/cottage-foods-pagosa-co-tickets-83416072719 or come into the office to pay. Cost is $40.
    Feb. 11, 2020: The 36th annual Beef Symposium will be held at the Archuleta County Extension office. The cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. Please call the Extension office at 264-5931 for more information and to register.
    Feb. 12, 2020: The Agricultural Financial Management Strategies workshop hosted by the CSU Agriculture and Business Management Team will cover topics such as risk management, business planning, enterprise budgeting, record keeping and more. Please go to www.2020fms.eventbrite.com to register or come into the office to pay. The cost is $15.
    CPR and first aid classes
    CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.
    We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification.