Why not update every four months?

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Guilt washes over us all after the holiday season.  We spend too much money on presents, cram an excess amount of delicious homemade treats down our bellies, and veg-out for way too long on the couch watching reruns.

But the New Year is here, and it is the time when we evaluate our lives and decide what works and what needs to be changed by making our annual resolutions.

Whether it’s to kick a bad habit or to get exercise other than walking to and from class, waiting an entire year for an end result seems doomed for failure — which is why New Year’s resolutions are getting a little tweaking in 2011.

“Instead of setting a goal for the entire year, make a resolution every 12 weeks,” said Phil Timmons, national group fitness expert at Life Time Fitness Co. “Usually, the progress you make is too minuscule compared to how long your goal is being set for.”

Timmons said instead of waiting until the end of December to improve something about your life, making a conscious effort every four months will lead to a long-term change in your daily habits and an overall lifestyle improvement.

Nearly 50 percent of Americans make a resolution that deals with a healthier lifestyle, but after the first week, nearly all of those people have given up on their goal, he said.

“You need to be able to see an end result in a short amount of time,” Timmons said.

A key variable in making a resolution is to make sure to voice your goal to someone you know, whether it is a family member, friend or co-worker, he said.

“If we don’t express that we want to achieve something, then when we fail, we are only disappointing ourselves,” Timmons said.

Not all resolutions need to be about eating better, exercising more or improving your health.  Samantha Parsons, a UNF photography senior, said this year, she wants to keep her room clean on a regular basis.

“My room gets messy very easily, so my goal is to keep it clean before it looks like a tornado hit it,” Parsons said. “It will keep my life in order because I am usually stressed out because I can’t find anything.”

Like most people, Parsons has more than one resolution.

“I know it sounds kind of lame, but I want to be more optimistic and positive about my job.”

Not all resolutions need to be about a specific aspect of our lives.

“My resolution this year is general self-improvement,” said Danny Smith, a UNF English senior.

As students, giving up cigarettes and biting our fingernails is difficult when we are swamped with schoolwork, part-time jobs, sports and relationships. But setting a short-term goal is a more effective way of being successful. Who knows? After four months, if you have kicked a bad habit or lost that Freshman 15 you’ve been lugging around, you can set your sights on another goal for the next quarter.

Resolution ideas for every student:

Fitness:  Although finding the old UNF gym might be difficult considering it has been bulldozed, students can still work out on the gym equipment, which was moved to UNF Arena. There are also free group fitness classes such as spinning, yoga, abdominal workouts and even dance classes available.  Tip: “A great motivator in exercise routines is to work out with a friend,” Timmons said. “It sparks competitiveness.”

Nutrition: Healthy options are hard to come by on campus.  Try bringing a lunch to school instead, packed with a healthy sandwich, a salad, or some fruit. Try incorporating one new vegetable into your diet each week. It is cheaper and healthier for you and a great way to stay on track to your New Year’s resolution goal. Tip: “Set up a little cheat day once a week,” Timmons said. “If you have a vice like Coca-Cola you can relax and reward yourself with that treat instead of indulging constantly throughout the week.”

Healthier Lifestyle: Even the smallest changes can impact your overall lifestyle. Try going to sleep earlier or drinking more water throughout the day. Want to kick a bad habit? Try replacing your cigarette with something else, like eating a lollipop or going for a quick jog. Or apply clear nail polish to your nails to deter from chewing them.  Tip: “People who have the most success are those who try every day,” Timmons said. “Whether it’s showing up at the gym for only 20 minutes or starting your day off with a healthy breakfast, being conscious of your resolution is the key to success.”