It's important to be specific in order to be successful in reaching your goals. Not only is it a clear definition of what you want to see happen, but it's also a way for you to tell someone (friends, family, coworkers, the universe) what your goal is exactly.
Good goal: Reduce clutter.*
Better goal: Dispose of all papers and cardboard boxes in my apartment that I don't need.
*I have had this goal since 2010! 2013 is the year, I just know it! If I can't get this done in the first half of 2013, I will seek professional help, I promise.
How much? How long? How many? What does this goal look like when it's finished? In order for you to know when you've reached your goal, you need to set some criteria to measure progress and completion.
Good goal: Drink more water.*
Better goal: Drink 6 glasses of water a day.
*Not actually my goal, but a great example for measurable. I do drink about this much in water/herbal tea.
Is this something you can really do? Attainable depends on what you are capable of. Do some research into what's possible and healthy for the average human being, but also be honest with yourself. Be aware that your goal shouldn't be so easy that it defeats the purpose of setting a goal. Challenge yourself, but be realistic.
Good goal: Lose 20 pounds.*
Better goal: Get back to pre-holidays weight and stay there.
*I could technically lose 20 lbs and still be textbook healthy. But considering that that's a number I've only reached on rare occasions , I don't think my dream weight is very attainable. My set point is a number I'm comfortable with and I know I can get there with my good habits.
Make your goal part of your big picture. A year from now, will this goal still matter to you? Is it the right time for this undertaking? Is it really YOUR goal (as opposed to someone else's)?
Good goal: Read 52 books this year.
Better goal: Make time every week to read something that I enjoy.
*This was one of my goals last year. I made it to December and 45 books before I realized that it wasn't that important to me to finish this goal and I felt as though it was obligating me to do something that didn't really matter.
Some of your resolutions may not take all year. Give yourself a deadline and set reminders to keep yourself on track.
Good goal: Keep in touch with Su.
Better goal: Pick up the phone today and call Su!