Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions Sensible and Achievable

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by Tom Manfredi

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Many people never make it past the first few weeks with their plans for change in the new year. There are some pretty universal reasons why this happens. Knowing what they are and how to deal with them can help you to be much more successful in the future. So, if you are disappointed in your ability to stick to those promises you made to yourself at the beginning of the year, now might be a good time to try again. Here are some pointers to make goal planning and follow through more successful.

Fit the Goals to Your Life Don’t come up with lofty goals that you read about somewhere and you think sound cool. Make your goals about correcting the bad habits you have and developing new habits that are healthy and specific to you. You need to analyze why you are doing the things you want to stop doing. If you snack a lot in the evening after dinner, is it because you keep lots of snacks handy? If so, do some house cleaning and get rid of them or at least move them somewhere that makes them more difficult and inconvenient to get a hold of. Maybe you avoid going to the health club because you really don’t like socializing when you work out or you are too intimidated by all the super fit people you see there. But, you might enjoy taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or the local mall so you can see what’s going on in your area – such as new neighbors or the latest sales. Everyone’s likes and dislikes are different. If you want to be successful with achieving your goals, make sure they fit your lifestyle.

Make Your Goals Pragmatic for You Think modest and achievable. Did you plan to get up every morning to do 60 minutes of exercise but instead you hit the snooze alarm all the time? Maybe you should plan on exercising for 30 minutes three of four times a week when you get home from work or on your lunch hour instead.

Schedule It Many busy people rely heavily on their daily planner, whether it’s a PDA, a calendar sheet or a binder. Whatever method you use to keep track of your daily appointments, don’t forget to schedule things like a specific time when you plan to do your exercising.

Think About Short Term Goals If your goal is to lose 30 pounds by next year, it is easy to eat those extra snacks now and tell yourself you’ve got plenty of time. You’ll be much more successful if your plan says you want to lose 3 pounds this month. If you’re a big dessert eater, you might want to plan to eat desserts only on the weekend.

Write It Down Research around adult learning suggests that people who just verbalize what they want to do differently will only succeed about 20% of the time. If you write down your plans and goals you will be successful 70% of the time. In other words, those who write down their goals and plans are three times as likely to achieve them as someone who doesn’t. That seems like a pretty good improvement in the odds to me.

Be Positive When it comes to changing our behavior, it is inevitable that sometimes we will fail. Successful people aren’t the ones who don’t fail, they’re the ones who don’t let it get them down. They just shrug it off and get back on track. Beating yourself up for failing does no good. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Tell yourself you’ll do better in the future.


Online fitness coach Tom Manfredi is the creator of the site He has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and has taught courses in fitness, anatomy, and physiology at the college level. He also has over 20 years of practical exercise experience as a fitness coach, long distance runner, triathlete, and martial arts instructor.

This site is designed with the mature adult in mind. Learn more by going to

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