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How should I decide which of my goals to pursue first?

Most of us have a long bucket list of behavioral goals and lifetime resolutions to pursue. How can we decide which goals to pursue first and which to add later?

We can follow several research-driven guidelines:

First, it helps to select two goals that complement and enrich each other. Exercise and weight loss, smoking and stress management, relationships and communication are natural pairings. Select two goals that complement each other.
 
Second, honor your readiness to change and pursue those goals in which you’re farther along. You’re far more likely to succeed with behaviors already in the action stage than in the contemplation stage. And we know that your confidence and dedication will zoom once you discover your change-ability.

Third, prioritize any behavior problems that immediately threaten your health or your future ability to change. You won’t be getting to many more goals if you do not first confront urgent health-compromising behaviors, such as obesity or depression.

And fourth, chase your energy right now: What do you want to pursue at this time? Of course, all of your goals are important -- that’s why they are your goals. But you’re likely to feel more poised and psyched in the moment with some more than others. Honor that feeling in prioritizing goals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.