We have great inspiration for the New Year. Along with high expectations to hit our 2019 goals, things can get overwhelming moving into the New Year. Healthline did a survey that found that, 62 percent of people said their stress level increases during the holiday season and into the New Year.

As we start to get into our resolutions and prepare for what the next 12 months will hold for us, we add more and more stress to our plates. We really should be happy and look forward to a new and improved us. If the happy is replaced by worry and your joy is pushed aside by fret, that’s not a good year.

To make this your best year, here are a half dozen ways to stay on track during 2019 and reduce the stress that might come with all the New Year brings.

1. Make a to-do list.

Maybe you have a mental list of everything you need to do and when you need to do it. But it helps to have a written list or calendar to see the big picture.

The point of this is to see everything in one place so you can get an idea of what’s happening and when. Don’t like how it’s looking? Reorganize your calendar and your to-do list to reflect the tasks you have for the New Year. If it’s a stress on paper — imagine what it will do to you in real life!

2. Avoid too many commitments.

Warren Buffet says one of his secrets to his success is the ability to say NO 99 out of 100 times. He has hundreds of opportunities each day that come to him. Being able to say no to the ones that don’t fit his goals or in his wheel house allows him to focus and give his all on those commitments he says yes to. You don’t have to do everything on your calendar. You are in control! Remember, you can’t be everywhere at the same time. You can only attend so many events, get to so many dinners, drive so far, and give so much. Just like your money, you have limits with your time.

Be honest and reasonable about what you can handle, and speak up if it’s too much to juggle. It’s all about quality, not quantity. Having some normalcy can help keep you calm and focused on the day ahead. Plus, it’s a great way to stay level-headed . . . especially if your new resolutions cause you extra stress until you get your schedule down.

3. Don’t wait to have fun when the time is right

Delaying something until the last minute is rarely a good idea. Along with your goal list, have a fun bucket list and fill it with joyful and festive things to do throughout the year. That way, you’re making plans ahead of time instead of “waiting for the right weekend” or “perfect day to take a break” - because they won’t just happen. You need to plan ahead. Spacing fun things out during the year can help you stay in great spirits and keep the stress low as the batteries get re-charged.

4. Don’t spend all your time on social media.

Stay away from the comparison trap, especially comparing yourself to someone else that is already at the place or level you want to get to. Hide your eyes from the perfectly curated Instagram feeds and the DIY rabbit hole of Pinterest.

Realize that when we start comparing ourselves to other people, we’re playing a game we’ll never win. The only person you ned to beat in the long race is YOU.

5. Ask friends or family for help.

Some stuff just has to be done. You can’t get rid of everything on the list. But if you start feeling the pressure, consider enlisting some friends or family to help you out.

Maybe that’s trading off with a fellow parent to cart your kids to and from school events, paying your niece or nephew to scoop your walk, or picking up your package from the store. If it’s not helping you reach your goals for the year, and someone else can do it, maybe even better than you can — give it away.

6. Stay healthy.

A number of folks put health and wellness on their goals for the New Year. Adding “new” and “more” to your plate will add some stress, and stress can lead to getting worn down and getting sick. Being sick at the start of your trek to a new you and new goals is the absolute worst, so do what you can to avoid it! If you wash your hands, stay hydrated, and avoid sick people, you can make it through cold and flu season safe and sound.

Remember, stress can zap your immune system and make you more prone to catching those gnarly bugs. Keep the stress down and your spirits up by staying healthy this year.

Mark Roozen, M.Ed, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT, FNSCA is a Performance Coach with more than 30 years in the fitness and performance business, He is owner of Coach Rozy Performance, 911 Tactical Performance and Living Pain Free-The Right Moves. He can be reached at rozyroozen@gmail.com or 817-219-2811.

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