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5 tips for setting a realistic New Year’s resolution

5 tips for setting a realistic New Year’s resolution
5 tips for setting a realistic New Year’s resolution

It’s that time of the year when most people are setting goals and making resolutions for what they want to accomplish in the new year. Turning over a new calendar is all about hitting the “reset” button and starting fresh. About 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, yet only a mere eight percent actually achieve them. Why?

Most of us fail to achieve our goals because we fail to set realistic goals. Here are five tips to help you make a New Year’s resolution you can keep. All you have to do is think SMART.

Specific: When setting your goals for 2016, consider these four questions: What? When? Where? How? Rather than setting a goal to lose weight, be more specific. A specific goal might be, “I want to lose four pounds per month by reducing my carb intake and working out three times a week.”

Measurable: A realistic resolution is a measurable one. Set visible, objective criteria (“I will eat three servings of vegetables a day” rather than “I will eat more veggies”) so you can measure your progress.

Attainable: There’s nothing wrong with setting the bar high, but if you do, be sure to give yourself small goals to reach along the way. If your resolution is to run a marathon next December, but you’ve never run a race before, make a plan to run a 5k or two in the first part of the year, followed by a 10k, then a half-marathon before running a marathon.

Relevant: What is the reason behind your resolution? Do you want to lose weight to reduce or eliminate other health concerns such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes? Set a goal that is meaningful and worth your time and effort.

Timely: A New Year’s resolution is, by nature, timely (a goal you want to accomplish in 12 months), but a realistic resolution is one with benchmarks along the way. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds in 2016, break it into smaller, shorter goals to keep you focused and motivated. To lose 30 pounds in a year, you’ll need to lose 2.5 pounds per month, or .0625 pounds per week. When broken up into small milestones or benchmark, even lofty goals become attainable.

Take a look at your goals for the new year and reshape them using this format, if needed. Remember, a realistic resolution is a SMART resolution.

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