How to Make Smart New Year’s Resolutions

| by Mitzi Dulan

What is your New Year’s resolution this year? In the top ten New Year’s Resolutions are, “Getting fit,” “eating better,” and “losing weight.” These are great resolutions to make; however, these are classic goal-setting mistakes. These types of goals are too vague to be motivating. Goals like these can leave you wondering when you actually achieved your objective. Goals like these have no deadline. These are common mistakes people make that fail to motivate, and sometimes end in self sabotage!

The best way to set a goal or resolution is to set SMART goals.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Framed.


  1. Specific goals are well defined. Spell out exactly what you want. Specific goals are clear to anyone you explain them to. Specific goals have a greater chance of being accomplished than general goals. Ex: "I want to lose 20 pounds," rather than "I want to lose weight."
  2. Measurable goals are obtainable. This is how you know how far away from the goal you are, and you will know when the goal has been achieved. Measuring your progress helps you stay on track. Keeping a log of your progress is a great way to measure your progress, and to help you not forget. Ex: "I will lose two pounds a week by exercising four times a week and keeping an exercise log."
  3. Achievable goals should be set only by you. You must be the one most motivated to accomplish your goal. If losing weight is not inspiring enough for you, then choose a different goal that will enhance your health.
  4. Realistic goals must be ambitious but not impossible. You do not want to sabotage yourself by setting yourself up for failure. If you goal is too large, try breaking it into smaller goals. If 50 pounds is too much for you to lose, then knock it down to 30 or 20 pounds.
  5. Time-Framed goals are needed so you know when you will actually finish your goal. Choose shorter time frames. EX: I will lose 2 pounds each week for 10 weeks for a total of a 20-pound weight loss.


Now, using all the SMART goal guidelines, write your final goal. Here are some examples:

Instead of “losing weight”
I will lose 20 pounds by increasing my exercise to 4 times a week and keeping an exercise log. I know I will make progress, because I will lose 2 pounds a week for 10 weeks.

Instead of “eating healthier”
I will eat more fruit by buying 7 different types of fruit at the grocery store each week. I know I will make progress, because I will eat one fruit each morning for breakfast and keep it in a food log.

Instead of “getting fit”
I will run in a 5K race February 14th by going to the gym 4 times a week and running. I know I will make progress, because I will run at least 1 mile by the first 2 weeks, 2 miles by the second two weeks and 3 miles by the third two weeks. I will keep my progress in an exercise log.

If you want to skip the crowded gym and have author and fitness and nutrition guru Mitzi Dulan help you with your nutrition and workouts, then sign up for Mitzi Dulan’s Adventure Boot Camp Resolution Solution - Winter Shape Up! It starts January 3. Register at Also, don’t miss my boot camp blog tomorrow!! Come back!

Assistance provided by Colleen Poling