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New year a good time for a new you

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The change in calendar year represents a time for growth and renewal. If you are like most people, you’ll probably want to set some New Year’s resolutions for 2013.

Unfortunately, the average resolution doesn’t last much longer than four days into the new year. In fact, most New Year’s resolutions are broken on the very first day of the calendar year.

The reason for this can vary, but often it has to do with setting unrealistic goals and not having an adequate plan to achieve them.

Because of this, many people will abandon their goals before ever starting because they often seem too big and overwhelming.

Creating simple, realistic and measurable goals for your health in 2013 involves five simple steps:

1. Define the goal with the end result in mind:

Many people set goals that are too vague: For example, "I resolve to get healthy this year," is simply not detailed enough and doesn’t provide any specific steps.

Goals should be treated like cookbook recipes. Write out what the final product should look like and then detail the steps needed to get to that final product.

2. Take a simplistic approach to setting goals and resolutions:

The fewer the steps, the better. For example, if your goal is to lose 100 pounds, you might want to start with the smaller goal of 10 pounds first.

Also, if your goal is to exercise every day but you haven’t exercised in a few years, you might want to start with a smaller goal of exercising once a week at first.

3. Set a deadline or time frame for achieving the goal:

Giving yourself a deadline will motivate and challenge you. Simply stating: "I resolved to eat better in 2013," is not enough. When will you do this? By which date? Be specific.

4. Write it down:

Make it official. Once you commit your goal to paper, something changes in your brain and you have now signed a contract with yourself.

5. Reward yourself:

Of course there has to be some kind of reward once you’ve achieved your goals. Who doesn’t like to be rewarded for their hard work? A vacation? A giant piece of chocolate cake? What reward will make all the effort seem worthwhile?

New Year’s resolutions and goals don’t have to be a source of stress in 2013. They can be fun and rewarding. By keeping goal-setting simple and achievable, these smaller "wins" will motivate you to tackle much bigger goals later on.

Dr. Christian Chatzoglou, D.C. is a chiropractor, writer and natural health expert.

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