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The New Year is almost here, and it’s time to start thinking about making changes, starting anew, and living the best life we can. For many people, looking and feeling better is the first step toward making other important changes in life. Even small changes can be very difficult to achieve, but it can be a lot easier to find the necessary motivation with the energy that good health and self-confidence create.

Americans make more health related New Year’s resolutions than any other kind because our health and bodies are central to our well-being and happiness. Regardless of how close or far you are from your ultimate health related goals, setting goals for the New Year starts with reassessing the year that just passed by.

Begin by asking yourself some questions:

  1. Did I make health-related goals last year? If so, what were they?
  2. How close did I come to reaching my goals?
  3. If I did not reach my goals, what was it that deterred me from doing so?

Learning from Successes and Failures in 2012

According to the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, of the 45% of Americans that regularly make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% achieve them. However, the length of the resolution (one month versus the whole year), nature of the resolution (lose 10 lbs. versus 50 lbs.), and whether or not smaller milestones are scheduled along the way can drastically affect a person’s ability to meet their goals.

Still not sure whether setting resolutions for the New Year can benefit you? The same research found that people who consciously set New Year’s resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve their goals for the year.

Healthy Resolutions in 2013

A lot of people are concerned about increasing or maintaining their health. Out of the top 10 New Year’s goals in 2012, losing weight was number 1, staying healthy and fit was number 5, and quitting smoking was number 7. But a major reason that many people fall short of their goals is from setting their sights too high. It can really pay to set smaller milestones that show the progress you’ve made, keep you motivated, remind you of your long-term goals, and reward you for your hard work.

Creating good health should be approached holistically and includes the mind, body, and spirit. Let’s take a closer look at some common health related goals, some unconventional ones, and the ways you can make your goals more attainable.

Diet resolutions: Diet doesn’t necessarily mean dieting, although it very well might if weight loss is your ultimate goal. Rather than making dieting goals, such as “lose 25 lbs.,” try making smaller goals related to what you eat instead.

Approaching weight loss unconventionally can help you achieve some amazing results. Instead of focusing on eating less or what you can’t or shouldn’t eat, focus on what you should eat. Try instead to commit to having fresh veggies and fruit with every meal, and snacking on wholesome things like raw almonds, edamame, and berries with natural, protein-filled Greek yogurt.

Diet may include other things like taking vitamins on a daily basis or preparing more home cooked meals in lieu of eating out. There are many small diet-related changes you can make that will help contribute to a greater goal of weight loss, feeling better, or creating better overall health.

Exercise resolutions: Much like diet and weight loss goals, exercise goals should be reached through a series of baby steps. Whether your goal is to run a marathon, hike a mountain, or simply to start exercising each day, it takes time to work your way up.

Many people need help reaching goals, and there are a lot of options for help when it comes to exercise. You may try joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer, or finding a walking buddy. All three methods help hold you accountable to your goals and make you much more likely to follow through on the daily practices that lead to long-term changes.

Body resolutions: While diet and exercise contribute to a healthy body, many people have goals for the look and feel of their body beyond those attainable through diet and exercise. If you’ve been putting off a cosmetic treatment, longing for a facial, or are in dire need of a massage, vow to treat yourself as soon as the busy holiday season gives way to the New Year. These types of goals can make us feel great and may be as easy to reach as scheduling an appointment.

Other body related resolutions may include specifically addressing a part of the body that you’re unhappy with or that’s been giving you trouble. Common resolutions can include adhering to a daily skin care routine, maintaining or refraining from biting your nails, or giving yourself regular footbaths for detoxification.

Resolutions related to mind and spirit: Stress plays a major role in deteriorating health and has been directly linked to weight gain in empirical studies. Reducing stress should be a top priority when it comes to improving health, as it is connected to the health of every part of our bodies and our mental ability to achieve health-related goals.

Practicing yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or taking daily walks in our favorite spots can all do wonders for the mind and spirit, reduce stress levels, and improve mood, making us more likely to have the motivation, confidence, and energy we need to reach other health related goals.

Here’s to the New Year, and we wish you all the best in achieving your goals. We know you can do it!

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