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Do health-related goals top your list of New Year’s resolutions? If so, you’re not alone. Resolutions to live healthier are often the most popular, including losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking and reducing stress. These resolutions are unfortunately the first to be broken.

What’s the secret to keeping your resolution to live healthier in 2017?

1. Set a specific goal. “Living healthy” sounds good, but isn’t concrete. Decide your focus, whether to lose weight, exercise more or change a specific habit (eating less sweets, for example).

2. Focus on one goal at a time. Attempting a complete overhaul in your lifestyle all at once can be overwhelming. Allow time to focus on one behavior at a time.

3. Start with small goals. If your resolution is to exercise more, create an exercise routine for three days a week instead of seven. If your goal is to lose weight, replace your dessert with a healthier option (fruit) rather than omitting it altogether. 

4. Write down your goals, steps to attain them and milestones that you reach. Writing items down can help you track your progress and celebrate your successes.

5. Have support in place. Whether a formal support group or friends and family, others can motivate you.

6. Forgive yourself when you experience setbacks. Minor missteps are completely normal. Don’t abandon your plan at the first mistake. Regroup and get back on track.

Seeing your physician for a wellness checkup is a great first step to setting health-related goals. You’ll have baseline information about your current health status and can discuss diet, exercise and other topics with your doctor.

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