Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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January 3, 2013

How to make your New Year's resolution stick

Question: What would be a news year’s resolution you can stick with?

Expert: Lisa Swanson

Fitness Together owner

ACE certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and AASDN nutrition specialist

Answer:

Year after year health clubs fill up come Jan. 2. Everyone starts off with the best intentions to finally get the weight off and keep it off. “This is the year I’ll really make it happen.”

We all know what happens a few weeks later. Either you started off with two hours a day and can’t keep it going at that pace, you are continuing to go but absolutely nothing is happening, or you are frustrated because the goals you set are simply unrealistic.

The golden rule of setting goals is to keep it S.M.A.R.T. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based. To reach your goal you need to know specifically what it is you are aiming for. For instance, if you say you want to lose weight, that doesn’t really give you anything to reach for. Instead, choose a specific weight; “I want to lose 10 pounds” gives you a certain number to reach for which makes it much more likely that you will succeed.

Next the goal needs to be measurable. When it comes to weight loss, that’s easy. Step on a scale to get your starting weight and track it weekly to make sure you are heading in the right direction. If not, you need to change things up. If you goal is to improve your time for your next 5K, come up with a specific number of minutes you want to improve by, and time your runs weekly as you train for this goal.

Attainable is the next factor figured into the equation. An attainable goal should be one that challenges you, pushing just outside your comfort zone. Setting a goal that is too easy, will not drive you to move forward nor give you the satisfaction of completing. Along with attainable, make the goal realistic. In other words, you may set an attainable goal to lose 25 pounds, but is it realistic to reach that goal in two weeks?

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