It’s almost the new year and, with it, the time many people choose to make New Year’s resolutions. Did you know that research shows that 60% of American people make New Year’s resolutions? Unfortunately, only about 8% are successful at actually keeping them.

So, why do we have so many problems actually keeping our resolutions? The key is to make our resolutions SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relative, and time-bound. But, how do we do that?

If your resolution is to eat healthier next year, you might be tempted to simply call your resolution “eat healthier” but that can mean so many things. To make your resolution a bit more SMART, you’ll want to start by being specific. A specific resolution would be to eat fewer snacks between meals.

But, eating fewer snacks between meals isn’t actually very measurable. What exactly is fewer? One fewer a day? One fewer a week? No snacks at all? A more measurable resolution would be to eat no snacks after dinner as research shows that we really should not eat past 6:00 PM to lose weight.

But, is that achievable? Can you really give up all snacks after dinner for the entire year? Could you change that resolution to be “eat no snacks that aren’t healthy after dinner.”? That is a specific goal that is measurable and should be achievable with a little bit of willpower.

But, is that goal relative or realistic depending on your interpretation? Will you actually be able to give up all snacks after dinner that aren’t healthy? Only you can make that determination. If you see that this might be too much for you to stick to, you can give yourself one day off a week for a cheat.

A final thing to consider is whether or not this is time-bound. How long will this resolution last? Is your goal to lose ten pounds? Or, is it to get your blood pressure or diabetes under control? Or do you just want to fit back into your favorite pair of jeans?

A resolution that is SMART would be something like, “I will only eat healthy snacks after 6:00 PM until I have lost ten pounds, except on Saturday night when I can have one cheat snack.” That is a much more specific and attainable resolution than “I will eat healthier.”

So, if you do decide to make a New Year’s resolution this year, I hope that you will make it one that you can actually achieve. These tips should help to guide you in making a resolution you can stick with.