By: Grant & Diane Hernden

This is the time of the year when everyone talks about New Year’s Resolutions. It is such a good idea because it helps us to think about what we want to accomplish as the year goes on.

The downside is that this is often where the thinking stops. By the middle of January, most resolutions have been cast aside.

Instead of just talking about general changes that you want to make, it is important to actually plan how you are going to carry out these changes. Your plan will be successful if you follow these steps:

1. Ask yourself where you want to be a year from now. This is the end goal. Be specific about the areas of your life to which you want to make changes. For example, is it weight loss, strength, balance, stress management, or healthier eating?

2. Share your goals with someone who will support your plan.

3. Once you have defined 2 or 3 areas that you want to change, break those plans down into smaller time periods. For example, to lose 25 lbs by 2013, you will need to lose approximately 2 pounds each month. Do you see how the goal becomes completely feasible when you look at it this way instead of thinking of the big idea?

4. Think of what specific action you need to take to make this happen. For example, will you have to measure your food initially to make sure that you are eating the proper portion sizes? And, will you walk 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week?

5. Make your plan measureable and accountable. Have a copy of a food guide in a visible spot so that you know what proper portion sizes are. Get out the measuring cup and spoons so they are handy every time you eat. And, get out your calendar and plan when you are going to walk. Put those times on the calendar based on all of your other commitments. Schedule your walk as you would any other activity.

6. Each time you actually carry out a part of our plan, check it off on your calendar.

7. Reward yourself regularly for actually setting your plan in motion. Choose a reward that fits with your goal. Treat yourself to a spa treatment or plan to take time to read that book you have been meaning to read.

8. Share your successes with your support person.

9. Most importantly, if you falter, go back and revise your plan to get going again. Do not use it as an excuse to stop working toward your ultimate goal.

If you commit to your resolutions with goal setting and have a concrete plan to meet your goals, you will be successful and it will last for life.

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Grant and Diane Hernden, Certified Personal Trainers and creators of AgeDefyingWorkouts.com, have been promoting health and well-being for over 35 years as physical education teachers and owners of Lifestyle Fitness and Sport, a strength and conditioning business that provides workout programs for elite athletes, working professionals and young adults. Now they have developed a program specially designed for boomers, Age Defying Workouts, the leading health and fitness system for men and women over 50.