By LaTria Garnigan

Grab a neighbor and shake a hand! If you’re reading this, you made it to 2016!

That’s reason enough to celebrate. But oftentimes — actually more times than not — the beginning of a new year brings on a bit of anxiety.

We rack our brains trying to figure out “How am I going to be better this year?” or “What new enlightenment will this new year bring?” We tend to get so focused on how to become better that we forget to appreciate the precious moments of now.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing amiss with setting new goals for yourselves. I continually strive to do so. I just don’t want us to get so bogged down with the “how” and “when” and forget about the “why.” Let’s try and focus on why we want to be better.

Why will this new change we seek make our lives more efficient or more enhanced?

So how can we do that? How can we have it all and still strive for more?

Keyword: moderation.

Instead of making a list of the top 10 things we want to change about ourselves or our situation, let’s whittle that number down to about five, or possibly even three. A more moderate number seems less stressful and more attainable — especially considering the hectic lives we all have.

So if you’re still with me, here are some ways that we can rock out goal-achieving in 2016!

Set a modest number: Writing down too many thoughts can create a lengthy list. And that length can cause unnecessary stress. If you start out small, you’ll find an ease in being able to achieve those goals.

Ask yourself if it’s essential to your well-being: Sure, that new Tesla is nice and luxurious and a European vacation sounds divine right about now — but are they necessary to making your life better in the immediate future? Could you settle for a Honda and a nice weekend getaway at a spa? Not to say you can’t set high standards for yourself, but you also have to be realistic. But who knows, in a year or so that European vacay might happen, and you’ll be driving around in a luxury vehicle!

Give yourself time, don’t rush the process: True change doesn’t happen overnight. This goes along with creating a shorter list. With less to stress over, you’ll allow yourself time to put a plan of action in place to achieve your goals, which will result in a sense of relief about accomplishing everything on your list.

ENJOY the process: You’ve made a list. You’ve started checking off small steps. Relish in how good it feels when you begin taking steps toward completing your goals. Remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit. So if your goal is to read more for leisure, then challenge yourself to read each day and think of how great you’ll feel after a month.

Learn to be your own cheerleader: While you’re achieving these goals one by one, do not forget to salute yourself for staying the course and making this commitment. Buy yourself a “Congratulations” balloon. Get yourself a bouquet of flowers. Realize that all small steps lead up to a big reward/gain and that every little bit counts.

Document your wins: Write down those small victories. This can go a long way in helping you stay on track with some self-accountability. It can also motivate you and remind you of where you began.

LaTria Garnigan is the assistant director of magazines and can be reached at



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