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Sleep apnea, CPAP, sleep test, sleep clinic, running, health, tiredSometime between feasting on New Years fondue and navigating the first few weeks of January, many people reflect on how they will improve their lives for the year ahead. All too often, unrealistic goals are set or done so without a plan on how to get there. Lay a solid foundation before writing that list and you will avoid frustration and achieve results:

1. Focus on your sleep!

If you have “exercise more” or “learn a new skill” on your list, forget it if you’re not getting enough rest. Sleep is the first step to having energy and maintaining your positive vibes, and the key to helping you accomplish the rest of your goals.

Maintaining a regular and reasonable bedtime, reducing screen time, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol can all have a positive affect on your sleep habits. If you’re struggling with wake-ups from children, do your research on breaking bad sleep habits or seek help from sleep consultant.

Other sleep issues such as obstructive sleep apnea could also be a detriment to getting a full night’s rest. There are several factors outlined in the STOP BANG questionnaire that can help you assess your risk of sleep apnea. Snoring, paused breathing, waking up feeling fatigued are just some of the indications you may be suffering from sleep apnea. The upside is this condition is treatable and manageable with CPAP therapy.

2. Set SMART goals

It’s not a new concept, but SMART goals are still highly effective and relevant. Be S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Achievable, R – Relevant, and T- Timely. Instead of vague resolutions, SMART goal setting creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective, with clear milestones and an estimation of the goal’s attainability. For example, take a common goal such as budgeting. Instead of just saying you would like to “save more”, apply the SMART concept to be “Save $2400 by December 31, 2019”. Then develop a realistic plan on how that statement will be achieved, such as negotiating a lower mobility rates or removing a subscription that isn’t being fully utilized.

3. Focus on the “how”, not the “what”

So now that you have your SMART goals written down, pay special attention to your action plan. “Lead measures” are the actions you need to take in order to achieve your goal. In the example of “losing weight”, think about what action is required by you to make that goal a reality. Whether its being active 2 – 3 times a week, drinking 8 glasses of water a day, or walking to work, choose actionable items that can be tracked. If you complete these “lead measures”, then it increases the likelihood that your goal of “losing weight” will be achieved.

Once you have these core concepts handled, its time to tackle your New Years resolutions….All the best!