The New Year is traditionally a time when we reflect on the past year and decide what we want to change or achieve in the coming year. We reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make in our life and set out to make this year different from the rest.

Some of the most common New Year resolutions are:

   Give up smoking / drinking        

   Get fit / lose weight

   Spend more time doing the things you love

   Get organized

   Get out of debt

   Do a course / change jobs

   Spend more time with family & friends

   Do volunteer work

   Find your soul mate

So why do so many people give up on their resolutions before the end of January?

If you want to be successful ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are these MY goals or am I doing it for someone else? There's no point saying you are going to lose weight if it's just to please the rest of the family.

2. Are my goals SMART? i.e. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. See my tips this month to read more on SMART goals.

3. Do I have a plan? There's no point saying 'I want to lose weight' without working out how you will achieve it.

Some experts say we are better to make goals for a shorter time-frame so if you are not familiar with sticking to goals maybe set a goal to achieve by March then write another goal for June.

Your goal might be something like this: I will lose 10lbs by March 30th. To do this I will exercise for 40 minutes a day 4 times a week (pencil this into your diary now). I will follow Annette's 28 Day menu plan from her cookbook. I will keep a food diary to ensure I am eating the correct number of calories each day.

Tips to keep you on track:

•   Start small - While you may have a lot of weight to lose to avoid feeling overwhelmed, break it into 10lb lots and bit by bit you will get there.

•   Be realistic - Going too hard too quickly will cause you to burn out. If you haven't been exercising, it's unlikely you will go from the couch to exercising 40 minutes a  day, 5 days a week and stick to it! Start with 10 minutes a day then build it up from there adding more time each week.

•   Don't expect to be perfect - You will have bad days, but don't give up just because you have had a bad day

•   Make sure you reward your efforts - Celebrate your successes!