How to set SMART New Year’s Resolutions!

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Tomorrow’s a big “start fresh” day for everybody.  I guess the thought of a fresh calendar year makes goals seem more worthwhile, easier to achieve and honestly I’m eager for some fresh starts myself (especially after the holidays!!).

Here are some tips for making better New Years Resolutions (no more simply “lose weight” or “exercise more”!)

  1. Make them SPECIFIC.  Instead of losing weight – how many pounds do you want to lose?  Instead of exercise more – how many times per week would you like to shoot for?  Instead of start to cook – do you want to take some classes to help get you started?
  2. Make them MEASURABLE.  Instead of I want to start running – set a goal for miles per week.  And don’t feel you have to start out at 40+ like the marathoners do!  You can start small and build as the months go by.  Use apps or online tools (many are free!) to help you along the way – DailyMile is a social site for tracking your mileage, MyFitPal is an interactive exercise, food and activity log, and paper calendars are a great way to mark big Xs on days you accomplish your resolution!
  3. Make them ATTAINABLE.  As ambitious as you may be, don’t set unrealistic goals!  For example, I would not make a resolution to run 5 miles every day.  That’s not realistic for my student schedule, I’m likely to get injured and I just don’t want to.  A more realistic goal may be to run one mile every day, for just one month.  I did that last January and it was a great way to start the year.  But even I can’t imagine running everyday of the year!
  4. Make them REALISTIC.  This is similar to the previous category but all the same, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure and the negative feelings that follow.  An example of an unrealistic goal (for me personally) might be to read a new book every week.  That is a wonderfully specific and measurable goal but there is no way I can achieve that!  Hell, last year I couldn’t even read one a month!  I do love to read though, I just don’t have the time when school’s in session.
  5. Make them TIMELY.  You should set a time that these will be achieved.  Most of them will apply to the entire year, that’s the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions!  But some you may want to do in a month (run one race per month) or a week (eat a vegetarian meal once a week).

But most importantly, make sure you WRITE THEM DOWN!!  You are more likely to stick with it if it’s written down somewhere.  Your journal, on a sticky note on the fridge or right here in the comments!

I’m going to finish mine up today and share them with you tomorrow 🙂  I would love to hear how you will make 2013 the best year yet!

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