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How to Achieve Your New Year's Resolution

A New Year’s Resolution is a statement that you’d like to try and make a positive change in your life. We look to January 1 as a “new beginning”, but really each day allows you the ability to make new choices, so if you haven’t made a resolution yet but would like to, it’s never too late to start.

There is, however, a big problem with New Year’s Resolutions. According to U.S. News, 80% of them fail by February. This failure rate is understandable, when you think about the most common types of resolutions people make: eat healthier, lose weight, save money. These goals are too broad and can set you up to fail almost as soon as you’ve begun.

Instead of repeating past mistakes, this year you can stick to your resolution by making your goals a little more manageable. We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular resolutions to show you how to do it.

Eat healthier

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Eating healthier is a great way to start the New Year, but it’s tough to stick to such an abstract goal. To set yourself up for success, choose something specific that you’ll try to change in your daily eating habits. Decide to swap one junk food snack per day for a piece of fruit. Or, increase your vegetable intake by finding a new recipe to make each week. You’ll be more likely to stick with this healthy habit when eating a flavorful dish than by adding plain broccoli to your meal.

Lose weight/Get in shape

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This is another resolution at the top of the most popular list – and it’s also one that people will make year after year. Have you made this resolution before but were unable to stick with it? It could be because it’s too broad.

If you want to lose weight, choose a (realistic) target weight and then set benchmarks. Let’s say your goal is to lose 15 pounds. Aim to lose five pounds by April 30, another five by August 31 and the final five by December 31. Breaking down your target weight loss into smaller goals will make it more attainable and will help you keep your healthy habits throughout the year.

Or, maybe your focus is on getting in shape. If you haven’t exercised regularly in a long time, sign up for a 5K race in April and work your way towards it. Download a free app, like C25K, which is designed for inexperienced runners just beginning a fitness routine.

If you’re looking to add some variety into your current workout schedule, try joining a gym where you can attend different types of classes. Club Pilates offers MTA members 10% off a membership as well as a waived enrollment fee at six of their locations. Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness, with locations across Mass., Conn., and Rhode Island, offer group classes like Zumba, cycling, aqua fitness, and strength and cardio routines. Save $10 on membership. A number of yoga studios offer discounts, including The Yoga Loft in Wilmington, where you’ll save 20% on all classes and class cards. There are so many methods to help you “get in shape”. Find one you love, and you’ll discover it’s not so hard to stick with your resolution.

Save money

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Most people are looking to save money, whether it’s a New Year’s Resolution or not. The beginning of the year is a great time to sit down and take a look at your finances. But often, it’s easier said than done. First off, determine why you’d like to save money. Are you having trouble building up a good amount of savings? Are you hoping to take a big trip? Are you in debt and need to pay it off?

Next, sit down and make a budget. This step is very important because it’s the only way to get a true picture of where all your money is going each month. If you find that you’re shopping too much, ask yourself whether or not you truly need what you’re buying. Most often, you’ll find that it’s a “want”, not a “need”. Now, take that money and deposit it into a separate savings account that you don’t touch, or put it towards a credit card payment to help yourself out of debt.

Which areas can you cut back on? If you buy coffee every day and eat out four times a week, this is a great opportunity to save. Start making coffee at home, and allow yourself to purchase coffee and eat out just once a week as a treat. Eating out is often done for its convenience, so spend a little time planning what meals you can make quickly and easily during the week.

You may also find that you can save on necessities by using your MTA discounts. BJ’s Wholesale Club offers a discounted membership along with one free month, but the discount is only available four times per year – January, April, July and October. When you need new comfortable shoes for work, don’t pay full price for Dansko. Use your discount to save 20%.

Read more

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It can be difficult to find the time for reading in an already jam-packed schedule, but there are a few steps you can take to set yourself up for success.

First, look at your weekly calendar and schedule time for reading – just as you’d schedule a dentist appointment – and keep it. Now look at the time you’ve scheduled for the next month and determine how much reading you think you can do. Is it enough time to read two books per month or do you think one is more likely? Next, make a list of books you’ve been wanting to read, gather recommendations from friends and write down which books you’d like to read each month on your calendar. Cross them off as you go and enjoy this time to yourself!

Be sure to check out the discounts available to you from local bookstores, including 10% off at Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster, Broadside Bookshop in Northampton and Storybook Cove in Hanover; 15% off at Books by the Sea in Centerville; and 20% at New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton Highlands and Used Book Superstore in Burlington and Middleton.

As you may have gathered, what you need for success is to set specific, measurable goals that are realistic for you and your lifestyle. Setbacks are inevitable because in most cases, you’re trying to change a years-long habit. Re-evaluate your progress every few months and if needed, make changes to help you achieve your goal. Good luck!