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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

January 7, 2020 - 11:21am --

Here we are, at the beginning of a new year and a new decade!  It is a good time for us to pause and reflect on life as we are living it.  As you look back through the months in 2019 what are the things you are glad you had the chance to experience?  Are there things you want to change?  How can you make the changes into new habits to accomplish the things you would like to in 2020? 

Let’s start with what do you want to change?  Are you happy with the money in the bank account? The savings you have or the debt you owe?  What about the way you feel?  Do you have the energy and strength to accomplish what you want to do?  What about your involvement in the community or the time for creativity or learning something new?  Any or all of these can be part of 2020, by thinking about how the steps below might work for you and your family:

  • Decide what it is that you really want- the things that you are ready to commit to in a way that you will appreciate the pay off or the final outcome.  How do other family members feel?  Are they willing to join with you to accomplish them?  How can you all work together to make it happen?
  • Make a plan- when I’ve identified what I want, then I need to decide how I’m going to get it.  Can I allocate my time, energy or money to get it?  What steps do I need to take?  Money is the easy example here, how much to I need to save each week or each pay to accomplish my goal?  How can the family support the changes that we may need to make to reach the goal?
  • Write it down- when I make the commitment to say I want to change something, then I have the plan in writing and it’s broken down step by step.  Then when there’s a challenge to the goal, I can say, (for example) “which do you want more, this item or our vacation?”
  • Set milestones- how will I know if I’m being successful?  When will I achieve my goal? If I’m saving money, that’s a tangible amount I can see as the account grows, or the debt decreases.  Breaking larger goals into smaller steps to accomplish week by week will keep the goal in front of you and allow conversation with the family on a regular basis.
  • What’s “plan B” ?  Some things are not always going to go according to my plan, so what can I do to get back on track?  Don’t get discouraged, life happens.  Keep the goal in mind and keep working towards it.  That’s why the smaller steps are important as they give us encouragement as we accomplish them.
  • Who’s going to hold me accountable?  Research tells us that if we tell someone else what we are trying to do and gain their support, then we are more likely to succeed.  It could be a co-worker, a spouse or friend, someone who will support you and encourage you to reach your goal.  Post it on the refrigerator, the car visor, and your workstation or kitchen window.  If it’s read several times a day then I’m reminded of what I really want and become re-energized.

Setting New Year’s resolutions seems to be a challenge that some may feel outdated, but they really are a great way to help us reach our goals in life.  Why not talk about changes you would like to do with your family tonight at dinner?  Or tomorrow at work?  If you would like more information, please contact me at and to all, Happy 2020!


Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.

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