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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

New Year’s Resolutions: How to keep them using the SMART model

By Noell Saunders

Every year, millions of Americans make New Year's resolutions but research suggests that few actually stick with them. For many, the process can be challenging, especially if it's one that requires a lot of work for the end result. But meeting long-term short-term goals is possible, says Bridget Nemeth, Old Dominion University's director of recreation and wellness.

Whether it's working out to lose weight, conquering a smoking habit or improving relationships, results require an ample amount of effort.

Nemeth says, for the best chance at success, set SMART goals:

pecific - Set clear and specific goals.

Measurable - It's important to have measurable goals in order to track progress and stay motivated.

Attainable - Goals should stretch a person's abilities but remain possible.

Realistic - Do goals match needs and what factors may impact success?

Time bound - Every goal needs a target date. Focus and work toward a deadline.

"Make your goal specific so you know when you have accomplished it, provide specific measurements of success with specific outcomes and make sure it is within reach of your abilities," Nemeth said. "If it is realistic then you can accomplish it and establish a timeline so you know realistically the time needed to accomplish the goals."

Once goals are established, Nemeth recommends putting strategies in place to stay on track such as finding a partner, keeping a journal to track progress and, most importantly, establishing time for celebrations when milestones are accomplished.

"Do not fret over moments of weakness; it's part of the journey," Nemeth said.

"Give yourself permission to "own" where you are and say "this is challenging," then reassess, what is working? What is not working? What support would be helpful to bring more success?," she continued. "After working through these questions, get back to it."

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