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2013: Year of the mini-resolution

No more big resolutions you can’t keep: Commit to a mini resolution or two to boost your chances of sticking to change

By Christine L. Chen Dec 31, 2012 8:45PM

Every year, losing weight tops the list of New Year’s resolutions. Since half of Americans claim they make resolutions, this means a whole bunch of us are changing our lives pretty drastically to slim down. However, not all of us have the fortitude of actor Jennifer Hudson to make sure we stick to that big goal.

Weight loss was again the most popular resolution this year, followed by: getting organized, saving money, enjoying life more, and staying fit & healthy -- all important stuff, all big resolutions.  But, how effective is your resolution if you say, “I’m going to lose 35 pounds,” then lose sight of the objective and get discouraged before the end of January?

So, here’s my idea: Make a few, smaller, easier-to-accomplish New Year’s resolutions. Out: big, unrealistic goals that never get reached.  In for 2013: mini, attainable resolutions that realistically can be fulfilled.

OUT: “I’m going to stop eating unhealthy food.”

Going cold turkey hardly ever lasts. Cut just one trip to the vending machine to start. Or, add one new fruit or veggie to the grocery list each month to gradually (and sustainably) change the way you eat.

OUT: “I have to de-clutter the house.”

Too daunting. Set aside a specific date and focus on organizing one small place – like the kitchen pantry. The satisfaction you will have from completing that task will be your motivation for the next stop: The man cave or your closet?

OUT: "I need to save more for money for (fill in the blank).”

There’s always a way to spend whatever’s in your wallet. Set up an automatic monthly transfer into a savings or retirement account so a specific amount is out of sight and out of mind. When you don’t touch it, even a small amount multiplies quickly.

OUT: “I’m going to work out a lot more.”

Something always gets in the way. Like you would a doctor’s appointment, schedule a time to walk, work out or take a class. When you keep your appointment, you’ll be encouraged to keep going, rather than be bummed that you didn’t get to the gym and stop making it a priority.

Can’t remember? Apps like MyFitnessPal (a calorie counter and social network), Fitness Buddy (a personal trainer and tracker), QuitNow! (to quit smoking), Mint (budget helper) or Astrid (personal organizer) can help. Use your phone obsession to help you stick to a mini resolution.

One mini-resolution that’s worked for me in the past is setting up a calendar alert to step away from my computer screen at the top of the hour to stretch and refill my water bottle. Not only does my back feel better, I’ve conquered a resolution I used to make: “I need to drink more water.”  I’m over these big, unsuccessful New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s break ‘em down into mini-resolutions -- smaller, easier-to-accomplish shifts in our daily lives -- and see what happens in 2013.

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