"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I find these words to be particularly appropriate as we usher in the New Year. Whether you're a resolution-maker, or just someone who has long-term aspirations, it's rare that any plan or vision we might have in our mind's eye moves forward without encountering a hurdle or two. Your goals for 2011 - as small, epic or unrelated to health and fitness as the may be -  will likely take some amount of perseverance in order to be achieved. With that, I wish you all the best! And remember, if January 1st doesn't work out, try again on the 2nd. If January is a bust, there is always February.

As cliché as diet and weight loss resolutions may be, they're alive and strong in the ambitions of millions of people. Here are three very simple things you can do that will help you in 2011 with your resolutions, regardless of when you're ready to start.

1. Be Specific
Don't say, "I will lose weight."
Do say, "I will lose 20 pounds by March 10th"

Don't say, "I will eat better."
Do say, "I will not eat mindlessly between 2pm and 5pm" (fill in your own specific downfall)

Don't say, "I will run faster in 2011."
Do say, "I will run a 20-minute 5k by June 1st." (what's realistic for you?)

2. Map or Journal Your Progress
Resolution calendars or journals work great  because they provide a start and end date for your goal.

  • For Weight Loss: You can measure inches, or pounds. Don't measure or weigh yourself too often. Once a week will suffice. Any more than that and you may get discouraged if you see a half pound reappear on the scale that wasn't there the day before.
  • For Fitness: You can say you're going to go out for a jog three times a week, but does it happen? Can you remember exactly what your workouts were from last week or the week before? Noting your progress (duration, intensity or type of exercise) serves as a handy reminder of just what you've accomplished. It's also has it's own built in "nag factor" if you happen to be slacking a little more that you should.

3. Make Yourself Accountable
Whether it's on your Facebook page, or in private conversation between you and someone close, state your goal. If you're not comfortable with saying it out loud or to other people, take the sticky note path and display your goal in places you'll see often.

Remember, people want you to succeed, and everybody loves a success story! Good luck in 2011 with everything you do.