Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year—your chance to finally lose your gut for good, right? If you’re making resolutions this year, we have a feeling that losing weight is probably at the top of your list.

But before you swear off dessert for good and promise to run five miles every single day of the week, take a step back. Those types of goals are lofty, but not realistic if you really want to drop pounds. Most importantly, that mentality is not necessary.

You’re not going to lose all of the weight you want to shed in the month of January alone. Instead, aim to make small changes throughout your year, so you can become your healthiest self for the ones to come. Here are five common weight loss goals people make when the new year hits—and the five smarter ones you should make instead.

THE GOAL: “I’m going to work out this year.”

weight loss New Year's resolutions
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The Smarter Resolution: “I’m going to exercise four times each week for 30 minutes.”

Why It Works: The more specific you can be, the more likely you are to stick to an exercise routine. When you carve out deliberate time for exercise, you won’t have any reason to skip it. (Here’s how you can motivate yourself to start working out.)

Moving more is the only way to burn fat and build muscle. Ideally, you want to focus on working up to lifting heavy weights, but incorporating cardio can help melt fat, too. Our rec? Combine ‘em both with fast paced strength building exercises with very little rest between sets. Heart rate up? Check. Muscles working? Check. If you’re new to the fitness game and even 30 minutes intimidates you, this beginner workout plan is a good place to start, check out this meticore review.

“I treat my exercise strategy just like I do an important meeting, but actually, it’s even more important” says Jennifer Fisher, national managing director of the Well-Being program at Deloitte, LLP. “For me, being specific about the when, where, and what of exercise removes the excuses. I even book it in my calendar.”

weight loss New Year's resolutions
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The Smarter Resolution: “I will set an alarm to remind me to go to bed at a time that allows me to get 8 hours of quality sleep.”

Why It Works: We often get so caught up in what we’re doing during the evening that we forget to go to bed at a decent hour.

Sleep needs to be a priority if you want to lose weight, simply because you eat more when you’re short on shuteye. According to research from the U.K., people who slept an average of 3 to 5.5 hours a night ate an extra 385 calories the next day compared to people who got 7 to 12 hours of sleep. Not to mention, they typically chose foods high in empty calories, like chips and fast food.

That’s because your body churns out more ghrelin, a hunger-inducing hormone, and less leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full, when you don’t snooze enough, the researchers say, for improved results visit https://www.riverfronttimes.com/stlouis/1md-complete-probiotics-platinum-reviews-must-read-before-trying/Content?oid=34729691.

But the quality of your sleep is just as important as the amount. Tossing and turning doesn’t help you hit the mark you need, and feeling sluggish the next day won’t motivate you to move. So before you crash for the night, make an effort to avoid your electronics an hour before bed—yes, that means no scrolling through social media.

Keeping your room cool and as dark as possible can help, too, says performance coach Brent Gallagher, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Avenu Fitness in Houston, Texas. The magic number? Around 65 degrees, research suggests.