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Fitness tracker? Here's how you should think about setting goals

Did you get a fitness tracker over the holidays? Here's a few tips to get you started.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Fitness trackers can help you live a healthier lifestyle. These little devices are designed to motivate you to walk that extra mile to the train, rather than taking a cap. They are there to remind you not to eat that extra piece of bacon, no matter how delicious it may smell. To help you stay on track many fitness tracks allow you to set daily activity goals, but how should you go about setting these goals? We've got all of the answers you're looking for right here:

How many steps should I take?

There is a belief that you must walk 10,000 steps a day, but this recommendation actually originated in Japan in the 1960s as part of a marketing slogan for a new pedometer. To this day there is still a debate whether 10,000 steps is the correct metric. One thing is clear, however, and that's that walking is important for living a healthy lifestyle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week.

Your steps goals should be personalized based on your fitness level. There are some trackers available, such as the Basis Peak and Garmin Vivofit , that will tailor goals to you. For most trackers, though, you must set goals yourself. If you aren't active, you should start small and build yourself up to 10,000 steps or more. Try 5,000 steps to start and once that has been met, increase your goal to 6,000, then 7,000 and so on.

How many miles should I walk?

A person takes on average about 2,000 steps per mile. You should set your milage goal relative to your steps goal. For example, if you are aiming to walk 6,000 steps a day, your mileage goal should be three miles.

Sarah Tew/CNET

How many calories should I burn?

It's difficult to recommend a general goal for calories. Everyone burns a different number of calories each day based their sex, age, weight and activity level. I recommend using the goal that is automatically set for you after you provide your fitness tracker's app with your personal information. If you are looking to lose weight and are willing to track the amount of calories you consume, you should aim to burn more calories per day than you consume.

How much sleep should I get?

Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of sleep they need at night and there is no "magic number" for how many hours you should try and sleep. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, however, recommends that teens attempt to get between 9 and 10 hours of sleep at night, while adults (including the elderly) should aim for between 7 and 8 hours.

Now that you've properly set your fitness goals, make sure you aren't making any of these common mistakes.