Each New Year is a springboard for renewing our pursuit toward goals, determining to work harder on health, or perhaps committing to the discovery of new experiences. Making a resolution can be exciting yet realizing it or incorporating desired changes into our lives is hard work. As few as 8% of us report success as motivation declines over the first six months. Build strong and lasting goals using five basic steps and enjoy success throughout the year!


1.) GET SPECIFIC. Set specific goals and visualize them as part of your life...do they fit? For instance, if you set a goal to walk 5 miles a day but work five days a week then this goal, however specific, may be difficult to consistently fit into your life. So, to strengthen your goal of fitness, consider walking 20 minutes a day. Does it surprise you that just 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes five days a week is all that's needed for optimum health benefit? Can you consistently make time for that? As with other goals in life, New Year's goals are strongest when we take the time to build a solid foundation. Ensure success and maximize benefit by setting specific goals that fit into your current lifestyle and contribute gradually toward long-term achievement or gain.

2.) SUPPORT YOUR RESOLUTION. Suppose you've set the goal of walking 20 minutes a day. Now, visualize support for your resolution. Will it help to keep a walking journal? Can you vary your walking routes for interest? Get specific about where and when you'll walk. Could you join a Volkssport group? A local Meetup group? Meetup groups support a wide variety of interests including walking. Can you involve a friend(s)? Will you establish a reward after a month of walks, two months of walks etc? Will you take along a camera or a book on tape for enjoyment? Reward yourself for integrating this positive change into your life. Visualize beyond the goal and develop a support structure to maximize your success.

3.) TAKE ACTION. Many of us establish New Year's resolutions in an effort to renew goals that have been hard to act on in the past. So, now that you've set a specific goal and have visualized your goal's support...it's time to act. In baseball this stage is called, "See ball. Hit ball." In other words, stop thinking, stop planning and visualizing just walk out the door and do it! Action, that simple and profound step, is the magic that makes any goal or resolution successful.

4.) GIVE IT MEANING. Set your goal within a greater context. Will meeting this goal help you cope with stress? Will it help you to maintain mental acuity? Will your added fitness help you to compete in a race? Will your weight loss help you get into that suit or dress for summer's wedding or reunion? Will your goal bring your family closer together? Are you aiming for greater personal growth or self awareness? Will meeting your goal improve your income or lower your insurance rates? Find a greater context for your goals to increase motivation and further integrate the resolution into your life.

5.) INJECT FUN! Everything is easier when it's fun or happy. Find your way to a smile, laugh, or lighthearted approach to your resolution. It doesn't have to be fun every time but by all means don't let it stall in seriousness.