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Six tips to meet your New Year’s resolutions

If you want to run a marathon, ace your classes or save money in 2016, you aren’t alone. According to, 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year – and 92 percent of those people don’t meet their goals. Here are some tips to help you become part of the eight percent.

  1. Set a goal you actually want to achieve. This seems likes a no-brainer. Why would you waste time on a resolution you don’t actually want? It is easy to listen to friends say, “I want to take up running,” and take that goal on to be a part of the group. But, if you hate running, you will have no trouble at all blowing off morning jogs. Even if you succeed, you will spend an entire year doing something you hate. Before you set any resolutions for 2016, think about what you enjoy and what you’d like to reflect on this time next year. If you want to read more, aim to read a new book every month. Want to attend more concerts? Look up tour dates now. Pick a goal you are interested in meeting, and you will find it easier to stick to.
  2. Keep your goals to yourself. This one might seem illogical, but stay with me here. Research by NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer found that people who talk about their goals with other people feel a sense of accomplishment, before they even start working toward those goals. If you tell your roommates you are going to take out the trash this year (yeah, right), you will feel a sense of success. You will feel like you’ve already taken out the trash for 52 weeks. You will feel so terrific about it that you won’t actually do it, and your apartment will smell like something died in it by the end of January. So, plan on being a cleaner roommate – but keep it to yourself.
  3. Be specific. There’s a difference between saying, “I want to save money in 2016,” and saying, “I want to end 2016 with $3,000 in my savings account.” The latter is something you can measure. If you name a generic goal, it will be difficult to tell if you’ve achieved it by 2017. Does eating broccoli once meet your goal of eating healthier? Does going to the beach once count as traveling more? Set a specific goal to more easily to track progress and stick to your resolution.
  4. Set milestones. Just because you want to run a marathon in 2016, doesn’t mean you will wake up Jan. 1 ready for Boston. You have to work toward it. Pull out your calendar, mark the marathon date and then work backward with smaller goals. “I will be running x miles per day by this date,” and “I will be running x miles in x amount of time by this date,” can help you cross the finish line.
  5. Set yourself up for success. In 1837, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court had the courtroom clock set five minutes fast to make sure deliberations began on time. If it worked for the Supreme Court, it can work for you. Set your watch fast to become more punctual. Stock your fridge with ready-to-eat vegetables if you want to snack healthier. Make it hard to fail.
  6. Reward yourself. It’s the end of January, and you have successfully avoided drinking soda. Treat yourself to a night out with friends. It’s important to give yourself a reward to stay motivated. Be careful that the reward doesn’t ruin your resolution, though. If your goal is to curb your social media addiction, don’t reward yourself by spending a whole day on Facebook.

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