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9 Resolutions You Shouldn't Have Made For 2013 (And What To Do About Them Now)

Already falling down on your New Year's resolutions? You're not alone — more than a third of resolution-makers slip up by the end of January, according to a study from the University of Scranton. But before ditching your well-intentioned goals altogether, this year try making smart revisions to the ones that aren't working out. You'll be surprised by how much more motivated you are to stick to your plan when you swap vague or overly-optimistic resolutions for simpler, more achievable ones.

So quit calling yourself a failure and read on for 9 commonly-broken resolutions you can still salvage in 2013. Then, discuss in the comments: Are you already swapping out any ill-conceived New Year's resolutions? Which resolutions are working for you, and which ones have fallen by the wayside?

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  • Original Resolution: Join the gym.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Discover a form of exercise that's actually fun. It's not enough to just join the gym — you have to actually go. So even if you've already accomplished this goal, the only thing that's necessarily become lighter is your wallet. But the gym isn't for everyone, and you're more likely to stick to a workout plan if you find a form of exercise you truly enjoy. From Zumba classes at a local dance studio, to open swim hours at the nearby pool to just plain-old running outside, there are plenty of ways to get fit that don't involve a treadmill or weights, and you'd be remiss not to consider them as well.

  • Original Resolution: Be on time.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Be early to a few key events each month. People who are always running late tend to be stressed out, overly apologetic and may even have lower self-esteem as a result of their reputation for tardiness. One of the keys to ending that cycle? Recognizing these consequences, and realizing how much calmer and better you feel when you've eliminated them. Start by identifying a few events on your calendar every month for which you can be 10 minutes early, and take note of the difference in yourself when you arrive. If you like the changes you see, you'll be more likely to break your lateness habit altogether.

  • Original Resolution: Eat healthier.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap:</strong> Snack smarter. "Healthier" is a vague and often confusing term that seems to change meaning depending on who you're talking to. But swapping your daily snack for something lighter and lower in calories is a concrete, simple and meaningful change you can make right away. For example, that bagel with cream cheese you eat every morning at 10 am? Try replacing it with something better for you, like light yogurt or a banana with a small dollop of peanut butter.

  • Original Resolution: Completely cut out (fill in the blank).

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Add something healthy to your daily routine. Totally banning something you've deemed a vice is particularly difficult, especially if you don't swap it for something better. Stay positive and start by adding a good habit, like an orange or grapefruit with breakfast, or an extra walk around the block when you get home from work. <em>Then</em> start phasing out your bad ones.

  • Original Resolution: Read more books.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Turn off the computer an hour before bed every night. Unplugging as you unwind for the night will help facilitate the hobbies you truly want to develop this year. Note: This one won't work if you cheat by checking your email or playing Words With Friends on your phone.

  • Original Resolution: Make over your look.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Push your comfort zone. Baby steps are key with this one, so before going full-on blonde, try highlights first to avoid tearful outbursts and a double expenditure at the hair salon when you realize you want to change the color back to its original. And before going out and buying whole new wardrobe, try buying one new outfit that's unlike anything you currently own. Wear it to work or an important social gathering and gauge your comfort-level before planning the next shopping spree.

  • Original Resolution: Find "The One" or win back your ex.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Put yourself out there in a new way. It's always best to limit New Year's resolutions to things you can reasonably control — and when it comes to your love life, control is especially hard to achieve. By resolving to put yourself out there in a way you haven't tried before (volunteering? salsa classes? trivia night at the local pub?), you'll be giving yourself an even better chance at finding love this year, but won't set yourself up for failure if the other half of the equation doesn't show up.

  • Original Resolution: Get out of debt.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Transfer $20 (or whatever you can afford) into a savings account each month. Don't overwhelm yourself with a task that may seem scary and insurmountable, which can be paralyzing. Instead, identify a small to moderate amount of money to set aside each month that you know you won't miss, and set up an automatic transfer into to your savings account. Small progress is better than no progress.

  • Original Resolution: Quit smoking.

    <strong>Better Resolution Swap: </strong>Keep resolving to quit smoking. This common (and commonly-broken) New Year's resolution is a great one no matter how you slice it — just make sure not to give up your goal after one slip-up (or four). One simple tip to keep you on track? Tell everyone you know about your plan to quit. Their moral support — and extra sets of watchful eyes — will help you stay the course at the toughest moments.

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