By Marissa Kameno, Graduate Student at Quinnipiac University

It happens every year. Somewhere amid the holiday season and New Year’s Eve planning, a friend or family members asks you the dreaded question. While talking about 2013, someone was bound to ask you “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” to which you probably muttered something cliche about losing weight, in a startled realization that you had yet to meet last year’s expectation let alone form a thought about the upcoming year.

And so Jan. 1 came and went and two weeks later, you either hit the end of your crash course in diet and daily exercise or realized it was probably too late to really make a resolution and just vowed to make one next year.

Why does this happen? Because at the end of the day, resolutions are goals set across a year. And you can’t just jump head first at a goal. So let’s put on our big girls pants (shameless "Girls" reference – what can I say, I’m hooked!) and set a resolution worth boasting about in December.

It’s a marathon
The best and worst thing about a resolution is that you have a year to complete it. Why sprint in January just to run out of steam after a couple of weeks? Break out the year into more attainable short-term bursts of three months. You can even spread out your resolutions across the year, rather than attempt everything at once.

Let’s say you have three resolutions for 2013: Lose weight (I’m convinced that every single person sets this as a yearly goal), learn to play guitar and start cooking for yourself more. If you start on Jan. 2 by going to the gym every day and cramming in guitar lessons after only to run to the supermarket to pick up groceries for dinner which you then have to make, there you are at 10 p.m. eating overcooked chicken and exhausted.

Now if you were to start by spending a couple weeks working around the kitchen and building up a repertoire of quick, healthy recipes that you can then make once you start hitting the gym a couple times a week and finally book guitar lessons for Saturday mornings – doesn’t that sound easier?

Focus your passions
When you think about resolutions, dig deep. What have you always wanted to do? Are you just going to schlep to the gym because you’ve felt lazy lately or are you determined to build strength and better your body? Do you just want to diet because you feel like you have to or are you really feeling burdened by the extra pounds? Identifying your motivation will not only guide the best course of action, it will force you to keep moving toward your goal. Capture that motivation, whether it's creating an inspiration board on Pinterest or taping a print out of an oversized woman in a bikini on your door with the mantra “Get off your ass.”

Resolutions are not chores. They are a means to a better life and a better you.

Set feasible deadlines
As a post-grad, life can get busy quickly. Only you know your responsibilities and can focus your goals accordingly. So when you’re planning out your resolutions, don’t set yourself up for failure.

To step away from the healthy living example, let’s say you have determined that in 2013 you will make more time to appreciate your friends and family. Break out tasks across the year: make everyone a DIY frame, plan a dinner party with your closest friends, etc.

Remember, this is your year to make the change you’ve been craving. It’s time to start planning out your resolutions for 2013!

Want to find ways to keep your New Year's resolutions? Check out our New Year, New Chic board on Pinterest!

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net