New Year’s is just around the corner. That means we are gearing up to make resolutions. Some of our resolutions will be theoretical while others are practical. Theoretical resolutions require life-changing mindset. There is no deadline. Practical resolutions require steps and have a deadline and goal. For example, a theoretical resolution might be, “to be happier” while a practical goal is “to work out three times a week.”

A practical resolution requires goal setting. I view goal setting as milestones to help accomplish the task. Everyone has different ways to set goals or milestones. Some write lists in Evernote, others set calendar reminders, while some write down their daily tasks.

Goal setting helps break down the major task or resolution into manageable pieces. Each piece helps accomplish the goal.

I prefer to start from the end. Think about the end goal and when you want to accomplish it. Let’s use a stereotypical resolution; lose 20 pounds this year.

So I want to lose 20 pounds by December 31st, 2018. Well first off, I would change the end date. I want to lose 20 pounds by December 1st. The holidays will just put more stress on me. 20 pounds by December 1st. Now we have set a practical end date.

Second I would break it down, per month. 20 pounds divided by 12 months is 1.6 pounds. So about 2 pounds a month.

Third, I would elevate my exercise and eating habits. How often do I exercise? What do I need to eat less off? For example, if you don’t exercise at all, start off with three days of 30 minutes of walking. Simple walking. Then move up from there. To lose weight, you do need to exercise. So put in your calendar and write down your exercise days and time.

Now, remember to get your body on track, make sure you are drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep.

Again, you have stated that you want to lose 20 pounds. You have set a practical end date. You did the math and to accomplish that goal you need to lose 2 pounds per month. You have added weekly exercise dates and time. You have looked at your water intake and sleep patterns.

Finally, I would eliminate “bad” food every other month. When it comes to food, I like to make it a game. For example, no sweets for one month. Then the next month, no bread. When you eliminate something for a short amount of time, it’s easier to digest (pun intended), and you can elevate your body.

Resolutions are an excellent way to continue your self-development. However don’t emotionally beat yourself up by creating an outrageous resolution and then having no game plan.