If you are like most people, then you are probably considering some resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. Goals are crucial to success in any venture, but many people make the mistake of making vague wishes instead of setting effective goals. There is an acronym that can help you with your goal setting. I've seen several variations of this acronym over the years, but I like the one below. Remember that you will have greater success if you set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Specific- "I want to get in shape", or "I'm going to lose some weight" are very vague goals. What kind of shape do you want to be in? Do you just want to lose weight, or specifically fat? What specific things do you want to be able to accomplish? Vague wishes have no power behind them and are easy to dismiss and give up on.

Measurable-If you have a goal to "lose weight", then that can be accomplished just by getting a haircut. How much weight do you want to lose? Use weight, inches, body fat percentages, or other forms of measurement to track your progress.

Accountable- Your success will increase dramatically if you are accountable for your goals. This includes being accountable to yourself, or even better, to another person who is supportive of what you want to achieve. Knowing that you will have to report on your progress and activity keeps you from procrastinating or giving up as easily.

Realistic- Your goal has to be realistic for you to believe it. You may have a goal to grow to be 7 feet tall so you could play center in the NBA, but some things are out of our control and may not be possible to accomplish. As much as I like telling people that they can do anything, it's not likely that a person can develop a 70" vertical jump.You can't gain 30 pounds of muscle in a month. Be realistic with your goals.

Time Table- This is what really puts power into your goals and gets you moving. Having a deadline to work against makes all the difference.

So instead of saying "I want to get in shape this year", give your goals some direction and power by changing them to something like:

-By March 15th 2011, I will weigh 150 pounds and will decrease my body fat percentage to 16%.

-By my 30th birthday this year I will run the mile in under 8 minutes and be able to do 10 pull ups.

-I will run and finish two marathons before November 1st of 2011.

Don't confuse vague resolutions with specific goals you want to accomplish. Take some time this week and think about what you'd really like to accomplish in 2011 and set some meaningful goals. Don't limit them to fitness goals, but address all areas of your life. Don't over do it either. It is better to achieve a few meaningful goals than to be overwhelmed by too many goals that you'll never get around to.

It's also important to remember that until you write goals down and develop a plan to achieve them, they are only a wishes. Write them in your planner, put them on the fridge or on a mirror where you can review them regularly. Success doesn't happen by accident.