For many people, a new year's resolution is a highly personal goal that, if fulfilled, becomes a "private victory." But whether you keep things quiet by accident or by design, you are giving yourself an out: You can fall off track, and no one will be the wiser.
On the other hand, you are more likely to follow through with your resolutions if you share them with the significant people in your life.
Which brings us to our five-step resolution-reaching plan:
1. Make your resolutions public.
Share them with one or more people so they can help you stay on track. If you let your friends and family in on your dream, you can use their support to help you make it a reality.
2. Write down your resolution.
But don't stop there: Also include the steps you will take to keep it. According to Laura Hess, a Nevada-based personal and business coach, having a clearly articulated goal and a plan of action is vital for success.
3. Keep things simple.
Break a big goal into a series of smaller goals. Want to lose 50 pounds? Shoot for losing 10 percent of your body weight first, or set five 10-pound incremental weight-loss goals.
4. Mark your achievements.
Each time you make a small lifestyle change aimed at reaching your goal—adding 5 minutes to your daily walk, for instance—put a star on your calendar so you can see your progress.
5. Make small changes.
If weight loss or a healthier lifestyle is your goal, put a bowl of fruit or vegetable pieces front and center in the fridge, and hide the cookie jar behind the oatmeal. Each week, try a new low-fat cereal or an exotic fruit or a vegetable you haven't tasted before. Stash away your car keys for a weekend and challenge yourself to walk wherever you need to go. Lose the deep-fat fryer, too, and steam, bake or microwave your food.