The last of the fireworks have been lit. You gathered with family and friends, drank champagne and sang “Auld Lang Syne.” It is January 1stand you’re staring at that piece of paper you wrote your New Year’s Resolutions on. Maybe you’re even feeling motivated and eager to start working on your goals for this year. But if past years are any indicator, you know your motivation will only last so long.

So how do you maintain that motivation all year? Being a part of the GI Nation means pushing yourself and never settling. But when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, it also helps to set reasonable, achievable goals and not to tackle more than you know you can do.

Below are 6 tips for setting smart goals in the coming year and how to stick to them.

1) Set a 3-Month Goal

You should absolutely set an ambitious goal for yourself to achieve by year’s end. But you should also break it down into smaller steps. How will you get to that big goal? What needs to be done first?

Set a smaller goal for yourself that you know you can push yourself to reach by March 31. Then have another 3-month goal ready to complete by June 30. Keep working away at that main goal by working up to it with smaller ones.

2) Think Seasonally

Why do so many people drop their health and exercise resolutions and forget about them? For one thing, January is a bitterly cold month for much of the world. It’s hardly a great time to get excited about exercising. After all, who wants to run a mile every morning when its twenty degrees outside?

Be smart about setting those short-term goals. Save the cross-country jogging and other outdoors activities for the spring. In the winter, focus on eating better and working out indoors (either in your home or at the gym).

3) Set Diverse Goals

Exercising more and building the body you have always dreamed about is important, and here at the GI Nation, we’re committed to helping you achieve that dream. But you should diversify your New Year’s Resolutions too. Set two or three fitness goals, but then pick a few more that aren’t fitness-related.

Where do you want to be with your career in a year? Are there any trips you want to take? Is there a hobby or pastime you’ve been neglecting lately? Put these goals next to the fitness ones and watch how working on one will motivate you to complete the rest. Maximize your happiness by achieving goals in all areas of your life.

4) Be Specific

“Get in shape” is not a good New Year’s Resolution. Try instead: “Lose 20 pounds by June.”

“Run more” is not a good New Year’s Resolution. Try instead: “Run a mile every day for a month, then two miles a day the next month, etc.”

“Bulk up and get bigger” is not a good New Year’s Resolution. Try instead: “Build a bigger chest, biceps and triceps.” And cut out a picture of someone who looks like how you want to look. Compare that photo with one of yourself at the end of the year.

5) Tell Someone Else

Don’t keep it a secret. Tell someone you’re close to about your New Year’s Resolution and give them permission to remind you all year about it. Having a friend on your case will keep you committed and focused on the goal, and keeps you from slacking off or forgetting about it.

6) Don’t Give Up

If April rolls around and you’ve barely made a dent in your goal, don’t use that as an excuse to scrap the whole plan and give yourself a free pass. Recommit yourself to your goal and modify it if you have to but do not give up. Any proud member of the GI Nation knows that nothing matters except hard work and that it’s never too late to achieve what you want to achieve.

GI Team
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