By Claire Yanta-O’Mahoney, Veteran Spouse

Oh, the new year! How exciting! Fresh slate! Time for changes! But also a bit daunting considering the pressure of resolutions perhaps?! Instead of setting goals, trying your best to achieve them, but then feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, then eventually throwing in the towel, let’s make this the year where you truly follow through. With a couple of guidelines, I promise you that this time you can keep those resolutions.

Here is my favorite (and tested!) approach to following through and achieving any goal or resolution.

Figure out your WHY

What is driving you towards change? Figuring out why you’re working towards a resolution will help you stay on track. The more this goal is personal to you, the more likely you’ll be determined to make it happen. When times get tough, remind yourself of your WHY. Write it on a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror, your fridge, your front door, your car, or even on the background of your phone! Repetition is the mother of all skills. Trust me.

Utilize the SMART Goal Setting Method

I LOVE this! It breaks down resolutions in such a logical way that if you follow it, you’ll have no choice but to achieve it. Doesn’t get any easier!

Specific: What exactly is your resolution? The more precisely you define it, the better chance you’ll be able to stay on top of it. “I want to lose 20lbs, work out three times a week, and eat an additional serving of veggies per day” is definitely more specific than “I want to be healthier.”

Measurable: How will you define your success, how will you know when you’ve kept up with your resolution? Use set dates, numbers, and criteria to gauge your growth. Honor your resolution by comparing your progress with the check-ins you created for yourself. Stay honest; no one wins when you cheat yourself.

Attainable: Is your goal realistic or are you shooting for the stars? It’s important to aim high but if you reach towards a level that probably isn’t going to happen (you don’t have the financial means, the time, etc.) then reevaluate. The aim here is for you to actually achieve this goal.

Relevant: Is this resolution something that you actually want to work towards? Does it make sense for your life? This is similar to discovering your WHY. If you’re not personally invested in this goal and someone else is pushing you towards it, it’s going to be an uphill battle unless you can get behind the WHY and buy into it.

Time Bound: Time is money, honey! Make a plan of action. Determine by when you want to have achieved your goal. Set deadlines for yourself, make sure they’re realistic yet also flexible. You want to keep your morale high, so your motivation to keep up with this resolution will stick!

Enlist the Accountability of Others

Sharing is caring! Let your best friend know you want to exercise three times a week so she can help you keep up that resolution by attending a class together. Inform your coworkers that you’re trying to eat an additional serving of veggies per day so they might start bringing in new veggie dishes and sharing recipes with you.

Seek a Professional to Help You

Remember how you had that soccer coach who led your team to the finals or that calculus tutor who helped you finally get that A? Professionals can guide you towards your goal by teaching you, providing accountability, advice, knowledge, and a plan. So if you know that trying to live a healthier life by yourself is going to get tough, then find someone to coach you through the process like a trainer or nutritionist. An expert will ensure you keep that resolution because that’s their job!

Find the Right Planner and Use It

A planner/calendar is absolutely key to your success. You’ll need to keep track of your check-ins, dates, progress, and know how much time you have before you’ve reached your goal. There are TONS of planners out there (paper, online, phone, blank, guided, dated, undated, room for doodles, etc.!), so do a little research to find the right one that works for you. Your planner is your right-hand man so choose wisely and allow it to help you.

At the end of the day, resolutions don’t have to be a stressful and overwhelming thing. Instead, they can be exciting, uplifting, and actually thrilling! Just think, you have the power to do some very cool things with your life! Life is what we make of it so create the one you want.

You CAN do this!        This is YOUR year!

Author: Claire Yanta-O’Mahoney is a proud veteran spouse originally from St. Louis. She started Fleur de Lis Fitness as a way to help clients seize the day and transform themselves into the healthier person they deserve to be. She offers fitness and healthy nutrition coaching to clients both in the Charlottesville, VA area as well as across the globe LIVE online. Claire tailors her programs to clients’ individual goals and needs so that it fits their lifestyle. Claire is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Science in Developmental Psychology from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Claire loves spending time with her husband, family, friends, traveling, reading, and cooking (or “health-ifying” recipes).