New Year, New You

Jan 10, 2007 | January 2007, Mind & Body

Making and keeping your New Year’s resolutions

By Fran Werner, CPT

Is losing weight your New Year’s resolution … again? If so, you’re not alone. Getting in shape and losing weight are the most common resolutions people make each year. You may start out gung-ho, but within days or weeks, your willpower and motivation sag. And before you know it, you’re back sitting in front of the television with a bag of chips in your hand. You can change that this year by making changes you can stick with through the new year and beyond.

Set realistic goals
Most people try to change too much too fast. They decide they’re going to completely change everything at once. Do you set goals of losing two pounds per week and exercising every day? Those are probably not realistic. How do you know if a goal is realistic? Look at your past history. Have you been able to achieve these goals before? Start small. For example, for most people, a weight loss goal of a half to one pound per week is realistic. Start with setting a goal of exercise a few days a week, not every day. You can build up as you get better and start seeing success.

Set specific goals
Often times, people set a goal of “lose weight” or “exercise more.” While they’re good goals, these are not very specific. Focusing on the actions you’re going to take helps increase the likelihood of your success. For example, “I will eat 250 calories less per day” or “I will walk 20 minutes Monday through Friday” are more specific and, therefore, more attainable goals. Remember, make them small, realistic behavior changes; you’ll be able to stick with them.

Expect setbacks and disruptions
Success rarely moves forward in a straight line. No one is perfect, and often your best-laid plans meet interference. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that the goal you’ve set can’t be achieved. Get back on track as soon as possible.

Set short-term goals
Setting a two-month goal or longer allows time to procrastinate before working on the goal, which then becomes an unrealistic one. Set short-term (one- or two-week) goals along the way.

With these suggestions, you can achieve and maintain your New Year’s goals to look and feel better.

NOTE: Future columns will address your healthy eating and weight-management questions. If you have questions you’d like answered, please send them to

Fran Werner is a certified lifestyle and weight management consultant as well as a certified personal trainer specializing in weight management. Fran has helped thousands of individuals achieve and maintain healthy weights and healthy lifestyles. You can contact her at (512) 794-3848 or at She also maintains an interactive Web site,

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