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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St Olaf chapter.

Christmas is coming and 2015 is right around the corner! Often times, with the new year comes high hopes and expectations. Many people set high goals to lose weight, be more patient, work harder, live more spontaneously and be a better person overall.  

Though I think “fresh starts” are great and self-improvement is necessary, it is important to frame it in a way that is healthy for you and will ultimately benefit you in the long run.  Small, positive goals can become habits, and during your next year in review, you may be surprised at the little changes you’ve made. Here are some tips to get you on the right track.

Be Specific.

Instead of declaring, “I will lose 20 pounds by March!”, you should maybe get into the details of how you hope to lose weight or become healthier rather than focusing on the numbers. Set a goal to go rock climbing every Wednesday or to make half of your plate full of veggies at every meal. This will make your resolution a more focused and gratifying experience. 

Start Small.

Setting your expectations too high for yourself will often lead to overworking and disappointment. Don’t hold yourself accountable to get all A’s next semester. Instead, set a goal to complete all of your readings for each class and find a designated study buddy for every exam. Small steps lead to bigger successes. 

Don’t frame your goals aren’t “Do not” or “I can’t.” 

Goals shouldn’t be about restrictions. They should be about trying new things and treating yourself to a new way of living. Instead of saying, “DO NOT eat desserts anymore,” frame it in a way that allows you to try something new. “I will have a “Cage Cookie Friday” instead of having desserts in the caf.”  

Have fun with it and get your friends involved!

If you’re setting life altering goals, your friends and loved ones should probably know about it, too. They can help you frame your thinking in a positive way and hold you accountable for your new goals. Even if you involve your friends or family in your new workout or positive attitude plans, group activity and goals are usually more fun!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Images: Sticky Note Goals, 2015