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Tips to help keep your New Year health resolutions

December 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The year 2011 is coming to a close. It's the time of year when we reflect on how things went and how we'd like to make things healthier in 2012. But how many of us actually keep New Year's resolutions?

Psychologists say it's possible to make real changes and stick to them.

Think about the most popular resolutions people make every year: I want to get my financial house in order, I want to lose weight and I want to quit smoking. Those may sound like good resolutions, but experts say they're not.

You've heard them before: common resolution people can't seem to keep.

"People tend to choose big-ticket resolutions for the year, which is never a good thing," said John Tsilimparis, a family therapist.

Tsilimparis is not a big fan of New Year's resolutions. The reason, he says, is most people don't know how to make them.

"If I say to myself, 'I'd like to lose weight this year,' that's not really a good resolution because it's not measurable," said Tsilimparis.

Experts say you want to pick very small resolutions, measurable actions that you can fulfill. If your resolution is to drink more water, then say to yourself, "I'm going to drink two of these every single day for the next two weeks."

"The best thing to say is by March 1st, or by April 1st, or whenever, I would like to weigh 'X' amount of pounds," said Tsilimparis.

Say you'll cut down on a certain amount of cigarettes by a certain date. You want small goals you can meet in a short time.

"What are the little things I can do -- I can't move the mountain," said Tsilimparis.

Other tips from the experts include keeping a journal of all your progress and tiny triumphs, and don't obsess over the occasional slip. Do the best you can each day and take each day one at a time.