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New Year's Resolutions: How To Make Your Healthy Goals Stick

First Posted: 12/30/11 08:41 AM ET   Updated: 01/04/12 11:16 AM ET

Some of the most popular New Year's resolutions are about getting fit, losing weight and eating an all-around healthier diet. But lofty goals such as these are often easier said than done.

As many as 100 million Americans make New Year's resolutions, CNN reports. Somewhere between 40 and 45 percent of those people stick to their resolutions six months later, John Norcross, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Scranton who has researched New Years resolution outcomes, told NPR.

Here at Healthy Living, we want you to succeed in making healthier choices, but we know it's not easy. Most important of all: Be realistic. "When you make a resolution, it should be achievable and sustainable," says Elisa Zied, M.S., R.D., C.D.N, author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips. "The more specific the resolution the better."

That's why we've examined some common healthy resolutions and consulted the experts on how to make them fail-proof. You'll be able to stick to these 365 days a year.

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About 15 percent of people who make resolutions for the new year cite getting in shape as their top priority, WebMD reports. But by some estimates, as many as 60 percent of people let those new gym memberships drain their bank accounts without reaping the benefits, according to Time.com. In fact, a 2006 study found that gym-goers sweat it out less than five times a month, which sends the price per visit sky-high.

Make it fail-proof: "Fitness can be a goal in and of itself," says Zied, "but how will you know when you're fit?" Pick a specific goal like being able to do more pushups or jump rope for longer, she suggests, so you'll be able to track your progress. Other improved resolutions are to aim to exercise four days a week or to try to up the amount of steps you take each day until you reach 10,000. "Walking is free, doable and enjoyable when you listen to good music or are with a walking buddy with whom you enjoy conversation," says Zied.
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Filed by Sarah Klein  |