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With just a little more than two days until the crystal ball drops in Times Square, have you considered your goals for 2011? Is it to get fit? To eat healthier? To get a better job? David Zinczenko, author of “Eat This, Not That,” suggested in an article I found on Yahoo Health that most people make five mistakes when formulating their New Year’s Resolutions. In the article, he offered tips for overcoming those pitfalls and adjusting goals to help you be more successful.
1) Goal is too long-term – a shorter-term focus can help you achieve your goal, then you can make another one. For instance, make a goal to work out twice a week for the month of January. Have a clear idea of how long you will work out each session, and what you will do during your workout (for example, 15 minutes of cardio, and 10 minutes of weight training to start).
2) Expecting perfection – if you planned to work on your new job search for 45 minutes every day, you likely won’t be able to find the time, or will see your allotted time get eaten up by answering email or commenting on pictures your friend posted on Facebook. Instead, try to schedule a few times each week dedicated to working toward your goal. If you can’t meet the schedule, try to do just a smaller scale effort that day (work on your resume for half an hour, or search out job opportunities), and be extra diligent about making the next scheduled time productive by removing distractions.
3) Small goals – Yes, if you want to be successful it’s good to set a realistic goal. But Zinczenko’s article cited a study in which researchers at the University of Minnesota found things like larger weight loss goals may be better because it’s clearly evident it will require a larger effort and more of a lifestyle change to meet it.
4) Focusing on the intangible – If you want to lose weight, it’s a fine enough goal. If you want to lose weight because you are borderline diabetic, there’s real incentive to attain your goal. Or if you’re a smoker in a house welcoming a new baby into the mix, you have a clear reason to quit.
5) Lacking support – If you want to be successful, tell family and friends.