New Year’s Resolutions: Best Practices

Photo Illustration - Photo by Jacob Granneman
Photo Illustration – Photo by Jacob Granneman

Some expert advice and strategy for attaining goals in the new year

CLARK COUNTY — If you are one of the thousands of Clark County residents setting goals for 2019, you might be interested to know the majority of your goals won’t survive beyond Jan. 12.

Not to worry though, there are solutions and strategies to better, healthy goal setting.

Bill and Betty Ritchie
Bill and Betty Ritchie

“Unless and until you have absolutely made the decision,” said Health Coach Bill Ritchie, retired pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver. “You are never going to get where you want to go. Unless and until I make that decision, every little obstacle that gets in the way is gonna derail me.”

Bill and his wife Betty are certified health coaches with Optavia health programs. The Ritchie’s have devoted much of the last eight years of their lives researching and understanding healthy habits and goals.  

Common goals of exercise, weight-loss, positive attitudes, restored relationships, and healthier eating habits are all achievable through decisive and purposeful goals, but goals have to be often set and forgotten, says Ritchie.

“Goals are really, really important if you don’t have something you’re moving towards,” Ritchie said. “In life, you’re either moving forward or you’re moving backward. There’s no such thing as running in place. None.”   

Some practical and clear strategies for achieving your goals are outlined in Ritchie’s 2019 guide to better goal achievement:


  • Stick to a max of three goals: You should pick one goal that is the most important, Ritchie says. If you do not limit your goals, you can become overwhelmed and lose sight of the goals themselves.


  • Write your goals down: Goals left to bounce around in the mind often become forgotten or buried under the tasks of the day. You should keep the goal visible and possibly share it with a close friend who can help maintain accountability, Ritchie says.
  • Have a plan to turn the goal into a habit: Creating specific step-by-step goals within your goal can be helpful in making a goal more achievable. It typically takes 21 days for any routine to become a habit, so remember it will take sustained intentionality to achieve most changes, Ritchie says.
  • Check in with your goal: Tweaking your goal to better sync with your everyday lifestyle can make you that much more likely to follow through. What can be better? What is/isn’t working?



Ritchie explained how there are three main types of goals people can set to achieve desired changes: “A,” “B” and “C” level goals.

“A” level goals are accomplished through doing something you’ve already done, but in a new way. This is akin to having walked a 5k event before, and doing it again after several years, Ritchie said.

“B” level goals are categorized as something you have the skill to do, but have never done; similar to running a 10k event after running many 5k events, Ritchie said.

“C” level goals are used when you are attempting “ … something you’ve never done and you have absolutely no idea how you’re going to make it happen,” Ritchie said. This would be akin to wanting to run a 26k marathon with no previous experience.

“C” goals are often over-the-top and not as attainable.

“There’s no sense in saying, ‘I want to cut an album in Nashville,’ if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” Ritchie said.

Breaking goals down into these categories can help you determine what kind of goals you have for 2019 and how attainable they are at the present. To echo the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

For more information on the Ritchie’s and Optavia coaching, you can visit them on Facebook or their website page.  

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