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Now that the new year is underway it’s time to make good on those New Year’s Resolutions. If you're still staring at a long list of goals you made for 2017, here are three tips to help make your aspirations stick this year.

Be Realistic

Set yourself up for success and choose goals that are reasonable and practical. Avoid using the new year as a catalyst for a major life overhaul and instead reflect on the previous year and set small goals or changes you wish to see. You can always increase your resolutions but setting the initial bar too high can lead to burning out.

Clearly Define and Plan Your Goals

Beyond setting unrealistic goals, in order to increase your chances of reaching your resolutions try setting SMART goals –specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals.

  • Goals need to have specific outcomes. Rather than a broad ambition of getting healthy, set specific ideas of what getting healthy means to you. Maybe it’s working out three times per week, eating out less or getting more sleep. Establishing specific goals sets clear intentions for yourself and helps make it easier to plan a path towards achieving.
  • Goals need to measurable. Plan a path to reaching your goals and set benchmarks for progress you’re expecting to see. Keep track of progress in your phone, calendar or whatever method works best for you. You’ll be able to accurately gauge your progress, readjust if necessary and stay motivated.
  • Goals need to be achievable. Make resolutions you think you can keep. People often view the new year as a time for sweeping life changes and choose lofty goals. Start small and readjust later if necessary. By making resolutions attainable, there is a better chance you will keep them.
  • Good goals are relevant. If a goal is irrelevant you don’t really have any reason or motivation to keep chasing it.
  • Goals should be time-bound. A goal needs to have a definite end date. In the case of a New Year’s Resolution this may be in the middle of the year or end of the year. Set an end date to keep you on track and able to measure progress.

Allow for Flexibility

Our habits and behaviors develop over extended periods of time so it makes sense that replacing those behaviors requires equal time to change. Avoid the “all or nothing” approach to achieving your goals and be mindful that life will happen and things come up. Allow yourself and your goals to have flexibility and remember that the difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge.