The start of a new year is a good reminder to reflect on your priorities. New year, new you, right? But every year, millions of people make resolutions that are promptly forgotten by February.

Only 46% of people who make New Year’s resolutions are successful, according to a 2002 study by the Journal of Clinical Psychology. So, more than half of people who set a goal for 2020 will fail.

Instead of vowing to do something you won’t make good on, set yourself up for success this year. The key to following through on any goal, not just New Year’s resolutions, starts with recognizing what matters most to you and setting achievable intentions.

S.M.A.R.T. goals provide structure by being specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. For example, a specific goal focuses on a single need or want. It’s not, ‘I want to be healthier,’ but instead, ‘I want to drink more water.’

To be measurable, the goal must include an exact number. Achievable and relevant goals are ones that you can reasonably follow through on, considering your current wants, needs and life situation.

And like measurability, a goal should include a time limit that allows room to check on your progress, make adjustments as needed and reset your intentions within a specific time frame, rather than waiting for 2021 to roll around.

A S.M.A.R.T. physical activity resolution could then be – I will walk for 10 minutes during lunch on Wednesdays and Fridays for the next six weeks – instead of “I want to exercise more.”

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions involve health. Every year, people set goals to quit smoking, lose weight or eat better. Nutrition-related goals, specifically those related to weight management, should be approached gradually for long-term success.

For example, when snacking or portioning out meals, try putting one item back – one scoop of cereal, one cracker, one raisin – before you eat.

Practice reducing calories slowly. Reduce your normal portion sizes for food or drinks by a small amount. Buy small cans of soda or pour half as much juice as you normally would. One helpful strategy could be to complete a food diary or use an app to record what you’re eating for six weeks to understand what you’re eating.

When it comes to financial resolutions, the rules of S.M.A.R.T. still apply. Instead of wanting to save more money, resolve to save $1,000. Illinois Extension Consumer Economics Educator Kathy Sweedler recommends keeping it simple by picking one of your debts to pay down.

“Once you know which debt you want to focus on and you have a plan for how much you will pay each month, then you’re set for 2020. No more decisions, just pay down the debt,” said Sweedler, who serves Champaign, Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties.

Find more financial wellness information on the Plan Well, Retire Well blog at {}.

If one of your resolutions was to learn something new or give back to your community, Illinois Extension has classes and volunteer opportunities available around the state. Extension offers in-person classes and webinars year-round covering a wide range of topics aimed at helping families and communities grow their skills in everything from nutrition to farm management to finances. Consider volunteering by becoming a Master Gardener or Master Naturalist or starting a 4-H club. For more information, find your local Extension office at {}.

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Caitlin Mellendorf serves as a University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator in DeWitt, Macon and Piatt counties.