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With the arrival of the New Year, like 100 million other Americans, you have probably made at least one New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, however, like most everyone else, by mid-April you will probably find that your resolutions are nothing but distant memories.  So, why is it that as easy as resolutions are to make, they seem to be even easier to break?

Ask almost anyone that has made – and broken – a resolution and they will tell you that lack of will power was their downfall. But is failing at our resolutions really a matter of will power? Could it be that the problem isn’t that we aren’t mentally tough enough, but that we really haven’t yet learned how to set realistic goals?

When it comes to learning how to set goals, behavioral experts recommend:

  • Starting with something you WANT to do rather than something you think you should/need to do (e.g., being more physically active vs. eating less salt).
  • Choosing something ACTION oriented rather than outcome oriented (e.g., walking vs. losing weight).
  • Selecting something MEASUREABLE (e.g., walking a certain distance or for a certain amount of time vs. just walking).
  • Selecting something ACHIEVABLE (e.g., walking 10 minutes/day, 3 times/week vs. walking 2 miles/day, 7 days/week).

As with any new skill, the more you practice it the better you will get at it.  Before you know it, you will be setting and achieving goals with ease.