Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are: getting fit, losing weight and eating healthier. However, challenging goals such as these are often easier said than done.

As many as 100 million Americans make New Year’s resolutions, CNN reports. Somewhere between 40 and 45 percent of those people stick to their resolutions six months later, John Norcross, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Scranton who has researched New Year’s resolution outcomes, told NPR.

Wanting you to be successful at your resolutions this year, I have a list of suggestions to make those goals attainable and achievable. There is no better motivation than to see yourself succeed – one goal at a time.

If your resolution is to get fit in 2012- don’t think of exercising with an all or nothing approach. Instead of setting yourself up for failure by expecting too much too soon, set attainable goals and approaches that will help you succeed. Try increasing your level of endurance say by exceeding the number of push-ups you can do each week, taking stairs to and from work, making it to the gym 4 times a week. If you increase your level of activity, strength and endurance, you will start feeling fit, and will be able to further challenge your body.
If your resolution is to lose weight – why not make a resolution to adhere to a healthier lifestyle that will manage your weight long term? Don’t go for quick fixes and “diets”. Instead start a food log, take a few cooking classes and learn how to make healthier, home-made dishes. Find ways to avoid boredom and overeating due to stress by engaging in activities you enjoy and that relax you. Stick to an exercise routine or workout with a buddy or personal trainer to keep yourself accountable.
If your resolution is to eat healthier – why not think of things you can add to your life, rather then take away? Maybe it’s eating more fruits and vegetables. Maybe cutting down on processed foods and fattier meats. Replace unhealthy late night snacking with tasty, healthy nibbles of crunchy veggies.
If your resolution is to quit smoking – What better time to do it than winter in Chicago?! Instead of standing on the street and freezing, take a brisk walk during your former “smoke break”. You will not only feel better and energized but you will save a ton of money you can reinvest in yourself: a massage, a gym membership, new clothes… I did it 18 years ago on a cold January night – and to this day think of that as my best resolution EVER!
If your resolution is to find more time for yourself to recharge – start by making a plan each day. I once used to work for someone who was the least stressed out person I ever knew – and she held a very stressful position. When I asked her how she was able to do it, she said, “Before I start my day, I think of just one treat for myself that day.” And it DID NOT entail eating. It can be as simple as buying a fashion magazine and reading over lunch time, taking a walk with a friend, or treating yourself to some meditation and serenity even for a few minutes. At first it might seem this is a luxury most of us cannot afford. On the contrary, a few moments each day devoted to ourselves can not only improve our lives, but also of those around us.

So to achieve your resolutions, don’t focus on the end result – make each choice a reasonable goal and proceed to do it. Just because you may miss one workout or eat an unhealthy snack one night does not mean that you have failed. Just get back on track the next day and keep going – the results will surprise you!