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New Year, New You? – Kicking Your New Year’s Resolution Off Right

(As published on TheTownDish.com, December, 2010)

After the holidays many of us are left feeling overstuffed, overworked and sometimes, let's admit, a little hung over. As you sit on the couch finishing off those holiday cookies, you may be pondering what life changing resolution you are going to aim for this year come New Year's Eve. Are you going to be nicer to your neighbors? Read more? Learn how to cook? Or are you going to be like most of us and promise yourself that this year you are going to lose weight and keep it off?

Better said than done. It is believed that only 8% of New Year's Resolutions are kept each year with 80% of them broken by January 20. Wow, those numbers seem to be against us, huh?

Sooo, what can we do to not be one of those failed 92% this year? Well, first of all, you have to be S.M.A.R.T. about setting your resolutions. Many people are doomed right off the bat when they make a lofty resolution like "lose weight". These pie-in-the-sky resolutions are too general and don't give you any guidelines to follow to reach your goal.

Successful resolutions have the following characteristics: They are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Timely.

By being specific with your resolution, you can determine what practical steps are necessary to reach your goal. Instead of "exercise more" make a resolution to "exercise for 20 minutes, four times a week."

By making your resolution measurable, you can track your progress and know undoubtedly when you have reached your goal.

If your resolution is not achievable, really achievable, then you are setting yourself up for failure. You have to challenge yourself, yes, but be realistic. If you are a size ten and resolve to be a size four in three months, you may be letting yourself down.

Setting a timely resolution helps to keep the resolution achievable. If you set a short goal like "exercise three times a week for three months," you can prove to yourself that you can reach your goal. Once you reach this short-term goal, then you can set your next goal, knowing now that you can keep resolutions.

So what are you going to resolve to do this coming year? Whatever you choose, be S.M.A.R.T. and remember that it is always easier to achieve goals when you are doing it with someone else. A group or partner can help motivate you, keep you to task, and sometimes, keep you honest.

So, if you are ready to set your goals and need a little help, look to the experts in the community. Looking to exercise more and lose weight? Visit the gym or make an appointment with a trainer who can help you set realistic goals.

If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off, talk to the experts in this field. For more information from Chester County Hospital and their team of experts, call 610-738-2300 or visit www.chestercountyhospital.org/wellness.

Last Updated: 9/7/2012