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Every year about this time the gym is filled with new members and the candy shops are empty. Each January 1st people set goals of losing weight, getting healthier and exercising more.

In fact here are the top 10 most popular new year’s resolutions.

Did you make any of these? Why do most people end up breaking their resolutions before the end of January?

One of the reasons I can personally vouch for is that they are just too vague. Honestly, if I resolve to lose weight I break that one before the 2nd of January. That’s when all the holiday excess usually catches up on the scale… If I set a goal of exercising 3 days a week for 30 minutes I find that it is much more achievable. In general the dreaded g word…. goals… is much more effective than resolutions if they are set correctly. For years I dreaded setting goals. I have changed in the last few years. How can I get anywhere if I am just drifting through my life. I wanted to become a Naturopathic Doctor and I accomplished that goal. I wanted to become a better public speaker so I am working on that by being a member of Toastmasters.  So what do you need to do to refine your New Year’s resolutions so you actually succeed?

A key method of goal setting is the SMART system. Set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. So instead of losing weight or “being healthier” why not walk an extra 2000 steps per day or drink 3 more glasses of water. These are realistic goals. It is not realistic for me to set a goal of running a triathlon in June. But it would be reasonable to set a goal of running for 30 minutes twice a week. You get the idea.

The other part is timely. Goals that are too far out of reach can be part of your “bucket list”. They can be noted but really the commitment is not there until you see the glimmer of achievement. The goals you set today can help you complete those bigger goals.

Resolutions are not just for New Year’s – what do you want to accomplish. Use the SMART system and make this a great year!