New Year, New You

Happy New Year! I can't believe that Christmas and New Year's Eve are already behind us, and the New Year has officially begun. 2008 was a particularly challenging year for many, and I'm sure many of you are looking forward to a fresh start and more prosperous times this coming year. That being said, I wanted to share with you some of my personal goals for this year in hopes of inspiring you to reflect upon your own or create some resolutions if you have not already done so.

Though I firmly believe that you can (and should) set goals throughout the year to continually challenge and improve yourself, the New Year is a wonderful time to lay out some aspirations for the next 12 months. But first, before you make a whole list of new resolutions, take some time to look back over the last year and reflect upon how you did with last year's goals. Did you meet your expectations? Surpass them? Forget them?

As for me, one of my personal goals was to lay the initial ground work for my business, Cailen Ascher Design, advertise, and get clients. I'm proud to say that I was able to reach all of these, and it feels great. Fulfilling a goal is very gratifying and a wonderful way to motivate you to keep on improving yourself, your business, your relationship, etc. At the beginning of 2008, I also vowed to incorporate more strength training into my workouts. This resolution I was also able to accomplish, and I now strength train twice a week and have experienced some great results from my commitment to this.

It feels great to look back and have a sense of accomplishment. The key is to set goals that are ambitious but not outrageous, challenging but not "painful". If you're looking at your 2008 resolutions and realizing that you did not meet them as you would have liked, don't just roll them over and make them your resolutions again for this year. If they didn't work for you then, they probably won't work now. Take the time to really brainstorm and prioritize. Make a list, share it with friends and family. Refine and revise it. If you really want to stick to your goals for this year, you have to create goals that excite you, inspire you, and perhaps even scare you a little bit.

For this year, I want to continue to build my business and seek out more, unique advertising venues. I'm going to set aside time over the next few days to evaluate my desired income for 2009 and then work backwards from there to establish how many clients I wish to have and how much I hope to average on each design job. When creating goals, it's really important to think them through and do your research so that you make informed resolutions that are well-designed for you.

As for my wellness goal, I've vowed to work with my mom and my dad on lifestyle designs, another aspect of my business, and follow "The Flat Belly Diet". This diet, created by Prevention Magazine, is based on the incorporation of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) into your diet. MUFA decrease visceral fat between organs which lowers your risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and decreases blood pressure. The eating recommendations sound very interesting (and delicious...nuts & seeds, olives, healthy oils, avocado, and dark chocolate all contain MUFA!!!). It seems like a great way to remake your nutrition regimen, improve your health, and feel and look better.

When creating your resolutions be positive. Wanting to lose 20 pounds because you look "fat and disgusting" might motivate you for a week or two, but your steam will quickly run out. Even if you feel frustrated with your current reality, stay focused on the future. If you want to lose 20 pounds, make your motivation something positive - to feel healthier, live longer, gain self-confidence, but whatever it is, be kind to yourself. If you want your resolutions to stick, you have to work with yourself, not against. Once you've selected your chosen resolutions, write them down and pick a start day, preferably at least 3 days away. Give yourself time to look forward to beginning your new lifestyle and then when you do begin, you'll do so with enthusiasm that will carry you through.

Keep your resolutions handy and reread them when you feel you're losing focus. I would also recommend journaling throughout the year to keep yourself committed to change!

Good luck and Happy New Year!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit or email