This morning for breakfast I had leftover Christmas cookies and a white chocolate mocha. Not exactly a “breakfast of champions”—and a glaring sign that someone needs to work on her New Year’s resolutions!
The best resolutions are specific, measurable, and doable. For example, “exercise more” is too vague—a better resolution would be to “exercise for 30 minutes three days a week.” That goal could be fine-tuned by writing down when you’ll work out, with whom, and by designating rewards for sticking with the plan for two weeks, a month, and then two months.
Here’s more advice borrowed from the experts:
Realistic Goals Make sure that your resolution is realistic. Unless you’re appearing on “The Biggest Loser,” resolving to lose 25 pounds this month means setting yourself up for failure. Resolving to lose five pounds, on the other hand, is more realistic. If you’re a couch potato and are vowing to get up and move, don’t decide to work out for two hours every day. Start off with a goal of taking the dog for a morning walk around the neighborhood three times a week, and then go up from there as you get into your new groove.
Specific Deciding to “eat healthy” isn’t specific enough. Maybe you’ll decide to eat one serving of fruit every night at dinner, or resolve to pack your lunch from home three days a week rather than eating out.
Measurable You want a way to track whether you’re successfully moving toward your goal. Having a goal that’s measurable will help you pinpoint successes and possible failures. Maybe you want to reduce stress in your life. What measurable action could help you move toward that goal? Your resolution might be getting eight hours of sleep, four nights a week, or meditating for 15 minutes, five mornings a week.
Do it for You Your goal has to be something that you want to do for you, not for your spouse, friend, kids, or boss. If it’s not for you because you personally want to achieve this goal, it’s going to be extremely challenging to stick with it.
Keep it Up Know that you’ll hit speed bumps, and that’s to be expected. You might get sick, go out of town for work, sprain an ankle, or have any number of setbacks on your journey. Whatever your resolutions, see trouble spots as minor factors and keep striving toward your goal. Have a great 2010!