THE BLOG
01/09/2015 03:47 pm ET Updated Mar 11, 2015

Nail Your New Year's Resolutions in Four Easy Steps

On some level, I think all of us dread one thing about the New Year... resolutions. What we think are lofty or even good for us can soon feel obligatory and for some, even oppressive.

This is why I've taken a new attitude on the resolution. We all know that after a few glasses of champagne on December 31st, it's easy to make loads of promises we may or may not keep, right? So here's my idea:

Turn those resolutions into goals and create action steps using this 4-Step Process.

1. Choose a few resolutions/goals that you really want.

I'll use an example that many Americans decided on New Year's Eve - to lose weight.
The first thing I'm going to do, though, is qualify it. What does lose weight mean to me? Do I want to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds?

Look at your resolution. If it's too general, make it more specific. I'm going to turn - to lose weight - into:

• My resolution/goal is: To lose 20 pounds

2. Why did you choose this resolution/goal? Examine your motivation, reason or rationale.

For Step 2, I need to decide on my why. Why weight? Why 20 pounds?

Ask yourself why you want to make this change in your life. The truth is that if we don't have a good reason, we aren't going to do it. So dig in, find out what your motivation is!
• My answer is because I feel unhealthy. I can't fit into my clothes and I'm tired all the time. I want to both feel good and look good!

3. Implementation - Now that you're clear about the what (resolution/goal) and the why, the next piece to answer is the how.
a. How are you going to achieve this goal?
b. What specific actions will you take?
c. Do you need to enlist anyone's help?

Step 3 is critical because this is what needs to occur in order for you to get results. These are the actual steps you will want to take in order to achieve the goal. So in my example, I have to figure out what I'm going to do to really lose 20 pounds. Here are some of my ideas:

• Stop drinking sugar drinks (like sodas)
• Cut out junk food - no fast food, chips or donuts
• Walk after dinner with my partner (here I'm enlisting help)
• Drink more water

4. Create a timeline - Chunk out your action steps and put dates to them.

The last step is putting it all in motion because it won't get done if we don't plan and make time for it, right? Think about your entire year and the benchmarks you want to see over that time. It can be monthly or quarterly. Then think about each and every week, every day and what's going to happen.

For my resolution, I have a year to lose 20 pounds and I want to do it slowly so I will keep it off.

For Step 4, I have to put my ideas from Step 3 into a timeline.
Weekly:
• Starting today, I will stop drinking soda but allow myself one a week.
• I will pack a lunch instead of buying it except on Fridays when I'll treat myself to lunch out (but not fast food)
• Walk after dinner at least 3 times a week - on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
• Everyday, I will drink 8 glasses of water.
• This week I will buy a water bottle I love and carry it everywhere

Over the Year (Quarterly):
• By March 1, I will have lost 5 pounds or I'll start walking 5 times a week
• By June 1, I will have lost 10 pounds or I'll stop drinking soda altogether
• By September 1, I will have lost 15 pounds or I'll pack my lunch everyday

After school or work today, sit down with those resolutions. Choose the ones that really matter and then walk them through this 4-Step process. What can you start doing this week to make your life better? Change is doable but we need a plan and a timeline. Once you design action steps that work for you, you'll be amazed at the results! So, grab a paper and pen or sit down in front of your iPad and have fun! Let me know how it goes.

If you want some help, download my FREE worksheets today! Click HERE

Shakti Sutriasa is the Founder of DecideDifferently.com, a personal development company committed to empowering people to live more connected and fulfilled lives through coaching, counseling and workshops. Her unique approach combines modern psychology and spirituality to support people seeking positive change and self-transformation. Shakti is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has an MA in Education. Learn more at DecideDifferently.com