Eat more vegetables. Drink more water. Get more exercise. Quit that bad habit. Lose those last five pounds. Be more outgoing. Most of us have a list of goals we’d like to reach, and these goals often become resolutions when the new year rolls around.

Many people joke about the low number of people who actually keep their resolutions throughout the year, but nevertheless, setting goals and working toward them is a healthy activity. In addition, starting with the new year can give your goals an extra boost, for it can feel like a sincerely clean slate.

Of course, goals or new year’s resolutions aren’t limited to one’s personal life, but often extend into the professional realm. For massage therapists and bodyworkers, this can mean taking an honest look at one’s daily work and skill set, then setting goals to make desired improvements.

One wonderful goal for a massage therapist or bodyworker is to learn a new modality, technique or skill in the new year. This may be an especially great goal for those touch therapists who are becoming perhaps a bit burned out on the current routine.

To get started working toward a resolution to learn a new massage or bodywork modality, start by checking the offerings in continuing education. It should not be too difficult to find a course that offers the particular skill you’re searching for, either online, in a traditional classroom or during a destination workshop.

However, if you’re hoping this class will count toward your credits in continuing education, which are often required in order to renew one’s massage license, it’s a good idea to check with your state or regional board to find out what kind of classes count toward those credits.

If you can earn credits in continuing education at the same time you’re striving to meet a goal, it would seem to make the investment that much more worthwhile. Therefore, once you have the details down in terms of what kind of classes you can take and whether there is a list of approved providers, you can move forward on your path toward achieving those positive goals.

The next step would be deciding which course will best help you reach those resolutions. For example, if you were hoping to begin working with a certain portion of the population in the new year, such as pregnant women or hospital patients, you will want to focus your course search on the those specific topics.

If the focus is new to you, be sure to find the foundational or most basic class on the topic, and try to do some research on the teacher as well. If possible, you’ll want to be learning from an expert in any niche area—a person who has the experience to back up his or her teaching skills.

After you complete this first course, you should know whether this new skill or modality is a fit for you. If so, you can continue moving up the ladder of continuing-education classes until you feel confident in providing the work on your own.

—Brandi Schlossberg