It's the New Year, and you know what that means... New Year's Resolutions, and more importantly failed New Year's resolutions. We promise to be better and healthier people, and usually within a week; we abandon them. But why? Maybe we expected too much of ourselves. Resolutions often promise vague and impossible expectations that involve 180 degree turns in our behavior. People don't work like that. Furthermore, there are often no steps to make the resolutions happen. We just expect ourselves to change without taking the proper steps to ensure success. That is why instead of just resolving to be better, set achievable goals for yourself to help make you a better person.

Setting goals involves planning, accountability, and dedication. Resolutions are often more of a vague promise like eating healthier or working out more. What does that involve? How are you going to make it happen? A goal should be realistic about your weaknesses and strengths and have a plan to accomplish what you want to change. If you want to work out more, how many times a week are you working out? Where are you going to work out? What will you be doing at each workout? Write it down, and don't promise to do something if you know you cannot do it. However, the benefit of working towards a goal allows for some failures. If you fail a resolution, it seems like you've failed yourself and the decision gets abandoned. If you are working towards a goal, don't let small failures derail big success. If you miss one workout, it shouldn't ruin all the progress that you have already accomplished. Tell somebody who can help keep you accountable. Ask them to keep tabs on how you are doing. It's much more likely that you will do something if you tell someone you will instead of just holding it in your mind.

So in the spirit of what I've been writing, I'm going to share some of my goals for the New Year to help keep me accountable and maybe inspire you to come up with your own. Also, I decided to start these on January 8th, not the 1st, since that is when I go back to school and because of New Year's traditions.

1) I'm giving up sugar for (at least) 2 months

I know this may sound contradictory to the "don't do something you can't accomplish" or try to change too much at once, but I've actually done it before. After a couple days, you don't really miss it, but getting through those first few days is the most difficult part.

2) I'm going to work out 3 times a week.

3) I'm going to drink only water.

This goes along with not having sugar because most drinks are sugary. However, when I go off sugar, I sometimes still have milk or the occasional glass of juice. I realize that I do not drink enough water, and I want to stay healthy and hydrated, so I'm going to only drink water.

What are your goals for the New Year?