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Many see the new year as an opportunity for self-improvement – “a new year, a new you.” It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want to make in our lives and a time we resolve to follow through on those changes. However, keeping a new year’s resolution can be tough. A promise made hastily after the overindulgence of the holidays can quickly be forgotten when you return to your normal routine in January. Choosing just one aspect of your life to improve will increase your chance of success and planning your resolution in advance will give you time to think about your goal and how to achieve it.

Whether you want to eat healthier, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, or lose weight, here are some tips to help you stay on track in 2014.

Lose Weight

To lose weight, you first need to make a commitment to put in the effort. Many people can pile on the pounds but most struggle to shed them. Get started by setting a realistic weight-loss goal and improving your eating habits. Enlisting the help and support of family and friends will help motivate you to exercise and it’s also  a great way to keep yourself accountable.

Quit Smoking 

Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting, know what you’re up against, what options there are, and where to go for help. If you want to talk to someone about quitting, the Massachusetts Smokers Helpline provides information, referral services, and counselling at no cost.

Drink Less Alcohol

If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, drinking alcohol can sometimes get in the way of that goal and small changes can make a big difference in reducing your chances of having alcohol-related problems. These strategies for cutting back are a good starting point, as is understanding what a standard unit of alcohol is, knowing how to handle urges to drink, and when to say “no”.

Eat Healthier

Controlling your portion size and eating more fruits and vegetables are great ways to promote weight loss and to live a healthier lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables can help prevent diseases and have lots of fiber to keep you feeling full.  Fresh, frozen, or canned, they all count. However, if you’re eating canned fruit or vegetables, make sure fruit is packed in its own juice, not sugar water, and that vegetables have no added salt.

What is your new year resolution and how do you plan to stick to it? Comment below or tweet us at @MassGov.

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