Let’s Get Resolute: 6 Goals for the New Year

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If you’re having trouble getting going on your new year’s resolutions, now it the time to make your goals better. Here’s how.

Not all health goals are good goals. Yep, I said it. You might be trying to lose weight, but just making the goal of “lose weight” isn’t going to help you get there. Here are my foolproof tips for setting a few targets to improve your health.

If you haven’t made your New Year’s resolutions yet or you’re having trouble getting going on them, now is the time to make your goals better.

Click through to find out how.

Be Realistic

The easiest way to set a goal you’ll give up on is to pick one you can’t achieve. Choosing something that is obviously not achievable within a year will make you give up as soon as the going gets tough. When you have a goal you think is realistic, run it by someone who knows you well. If they think you’re crazy, it might be good to ratchet it back a little.

Be Ambitious

This may sound like a contradiction to being realistic, but the two actually go hand in hand. A goal that’s too easy also isn’t motivating. You have a natural instinct to rise to a challenge, so make your goal challenging. Ambitious goals force you to mobilize your resources in new ways to make the goal happen and lead to potentially life-changing results. To do this, determine what you think is possible and then go just beyond it.

Get Focused

A problem a lot of people run into is that they end up with too many goals. A safe number is a total of seven, each of them in different areas of your life. Remember, a goal with subheadings isn’t a goal. Saying you want to “get healthy” probably includes many other goals. Go with something more like “work out five days a week, every week.”

Set a specific target

It should be obvious from reading your resolution when you will have completed it. If the resolution has no clear finish line, you’ll feel overwhelmed by figuring out how to achieve it and won’t know when to celebrate. If you run, that might mean aiming for a specific time in a race. If you’re looking to lose weight, it might mean adding or removing specific foods to or from your diet.

Remind Yourself

Keep your resolutions in the forefront of your mind. Write them down. Doing so embeds them in your brain and commits you to your goals more so than just mentally deciding. Put them somewhere you will see them regularly.

Share a Little

The key word here is a little. When you resolve to do something big this year, pick 10 of your closest friends and family to tell. Ask them to check in and to hold you accountable throughout the year. But resist the urge to post on Facebook or share on Twitter. Research has shown that when you share your commitment to a goal with a large number of people, your brain responds as if you’ve already reached your goal. That can actually decrease your motivation. The point of sharing is accountability, not self-congratulation.