It’s that time of year when many are setting goals for the new year. I recently had a birthday and typically use that time to set some hopes and goals for my next trip around the sun. Usually I have some wellness goals, a travel goal or two, and some professional goals as well. Last year I hoped to take a dance class, but it didn’t happen, so I put it on this year’s list again. Shortly after my birthday a good friend contacted me and asked if I wanted to take a dance class with her. It’s funny how the universe works in this way. Once you put something out there with commitment and intent, the universe will reward you! Now I am super excited to make this goal a reality. When we get creative with our wellness goals, and participate in things that excite us, as opposed to doing things because we think we should, we set ourselves up not only for success, but for some really fun experiences as well.

Here are a few ways to increase your odds in being successful with your goals.

Be Present.

I have noticed that challenges meeting goals often are a result of where the focus is. If the focus is very future oriented as opposed to more present oriented more challenges will occur. For example, if I have a goal to go to the gym three days a week because I want to lose weight, often the motivation quickly declines because the goal feels too out of reach. It takes time to lose weight. If, on the other hand, I am aware of the immediate positive effects of going to the gym I will be more likely to keep going. Noticing that after exercising I feel more energized, less stressed, and experience less back pain, will motivate me more so than the longer-term goal of losing weight. Of course, there are many people who are very goal and future oriented and that works great for them. But if you’re finding that this is not the case for you, see if you notice a shift in motivation when you start focusing on the present and the benefits you receive in the moment.

Find Joy.

What brings you joy? If something brings you joy you’re more likely to do it. The gym does not bring me joy. In the past I have had gym memberships and it was like pulling my own teeth to get me there. It wasn’t the exercise that was bumming me out, it was being at the gym. As I’ve realized this, I have allowed myself to never get another gym membership for the rest of my life. Instead, I focus on activities that bring me joy; yoga in my favorite yoga studio, running outside (even in the cold!), skiing, hiking. There are so many options out there for health and well-being. Find what brings you joy!!

Gather Community.

Let’s face it. It is easier to get out of bed at 5:00 in the morning to go running or to a fitness class when you have made a date with somebody. Find a community of people who have like-minded goals. Not only does this hold you accountable, but it can be more fun as well. There are times when I love the solitude of running and hiking alone, but often, especially when motivation is low, it is so nice having a friend along. If you don’t currently have folks in your life who share these interests find some. Thanks to the internet there are so many ways to connect with different communities. is just one option where you can find your community.

These are just a few ways to bring fun, joy, community and living presence to your health and wellness goals this upcoming new year. And remember, self-compassion is super important. Be kind to yourself. Tomorrow is always another opportunity. Find the joy. Try something new. Go for a walk if you’re feeling sad or stressed. Ask a friend if they want to take a dance class with you. If you love the gym, go to the gym. If you despise the gym, don’t go to the gym. Find something else! The possibilities are endless! If money is a constraint, do your research. There are several free* and donation based opportunities out there. Enjoy!!

*If a meditation practice is on your list of goals for the new year, please join me Thursdays at noon-12:45 for free, guided, lovingkindness meditation sessions at my office. 15 Pearl Street, Essex Junction. If you’re struggling with self-compassion this is a great start! See you there!