giphy-5Ah, New Year’s.

A time for fresh starts and resolutions. Many of us go into the new year determined to achieve our goals, yet only about 8% of people will have actually achieve their resolutions by the end of the year. Here are 5 ways to actually stick to your goals this year!

1.Be Specific

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It sounds easy enough, right? But too many of us will say our resolution is “to do better in school.” A goal needs to be extremely specific, “My goal is to achieve a 3.5 GPA this semester to raise my overall GPA to a 3.3.” You can break that goal down even further and have goals for each of your classes (an A in this class, B+ in this one, etc.) Defining exactly what you want to accomplish is the foundation of an achievable goal.

2. Make it Measurable

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If you’ve made a specific goal, it should be easy to measure. If you don’t know how to measure your goal it probably isn’t specific enough yet, so head back to step one. Even a goal as simple as “being kinder” can be measured. You can make the goal more specific and ask yourself if you paid it forward 5 times that week. Whether you use excel or old-school paper, it’s important to measure your goal along the way. If you don’t measure your progress, your resolution could easily fall by the wayside.

3. This Month’s Resolution?

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When people are setting their New Year’s resolutions, it’s often a hazy statement, “This year I’ll be a better friend.” All year? 365 days? All 8,760 hours? Although it’s good to have high expectations for yourself, shortening the timeline of the resolutions can make them seem more concrete and not as scary. You could make a resolution for a month, a quarter of the year, or for a semester at school. Setting a timeline can also help with the measurement of the goals!

4. Keepin’ it Real

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The goals you set for yourself have to be attainable. If you set a goal that’s too hard to actually achieve, it will end up making you feel defeated. For example, last year I made a resolution to make my bed every single day (ha!). How long did that last? I don’t even remember. This semester, I have a goal to make my bed three times every week, which is much more realistic than making my bed every day for the entire year. Make your resolution similar to reaching one of the top shelves of a cabinet. You have to already be tall enough that it’s not totally out of reach, but it takes some effort to get there.

5. Accountability

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One big reason people don’t achieve their goals is because there’s no consequence for not achieving them. Sticking with the status quo is easy, which is why so many people do it! A ‘good’ consequence for not achieving your goals is donating charity for every goal that’s not met. Another way to ensure that you achieve your goals is to have an accountability partner to check in on you. Especially with working out, I think accountability partners really help with following through!

It’s not too late to make a New Year’s resolution if you haven’t already; goals can be made anytime of the year. Follow the steps above and make 2017 your best year yet!

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“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” -Melody Beattie

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