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INDIANAPOLIS — With 2022 now in full swing, millions of Americans will engage in the time-honored tradition of setting their New Year’s resolutions.

The most popular resolutions typically revolve around health and fitness or financial goals. But keeping to those resolutions can be tricky, with many people giving up relatively quickly.

Health and life coach Erica Ballard says when it comes to resolutions, there are key things people can do to create attainable and maintainable goals.

The first step, according to Ballard, is to identify the things you “actually want in life.” She adds that the concept sounds simple, but can be a tough for people to grasp.  

“A lot of us we put goals in place because we think other people want things from us, or we think it will garnish some type of happiness for us, versus asking what will actually make me happy? And that’s where I think we need to start when it comes to goals…

“The other piece when thinking about goals is to come from a place of wanting to improve or ‘better ourselves’ versus trying to ‘punish ourselves.’ A lot of goals people set for themselves are based on punishing themselves for some sort of previous activity versus looking within saying, ‘who do I want to be? What do I want to be doing moving forward? What would bring me happiness?'”

 Identifying goals is one thing, maintaining them is another. Ballard says one mistake along the way is people tend to “go all or nothing” from the get-go, when giving yourself time and taking the gradual approach is best for maintaining. She adds the gradual approach essentially allows your body and mind to “catch up” to what you want to achieve.

Ballard adds, there’s also another key to success, so often people look to past versions of their “idealized selves” or benchmarks they want to get back to. Ballard says that’s a mistake.

“Don’t look back to what was, look for to what needs to be. Because what got you there isn’t going to get you where you want to go now because your body is different, your life is different, your mindset is different, your time is different. There’s so many different things happening, so if we keep looking back, we actually aren’t able to look forward.”

Lastly, Ballard says when pursuing these goals, give yourself grace. She adds that perfection doesn’t exist, so trying to be perfect when pursuing your goals often sets us up for failure.