The worst thing you can do is make a list of New Year's resolutions. By mid-January, you've devoured those chocolate Santas, bitten your nails, cracked your knuckles and slept in through your scheduled 5 a.m. runs.
Here's a better option: Set yourself some goals.
You strive for goals. You may not always have forward motion toward the endgame, but a goal is always within reach until you meet or exceed it. Resolutions are brittle; once you break them, they're broken, shattered pieces of good intentions.
Instead of saying "This year, I'm going to diet and exercise every day," set tangible goals that will help you get to the real goal -- staying healthy and looking your best. Write down that you're going to do 400 minutes of cardio activities and 500 minutes of weightlifting this month. Then hit those numbers! That doesn't mean you have to exercise every day. But it does mean you have to pace yourself to make sure you do something a few times a week to hit those goals.
Resolutions are impossible to keep. We all have those days where we snub our noses at the salad bar and go for the pizza. We're not going to do 50 pushups and read the Wall Street Journal every morning. These edicts are inflexible and will only cause stress when we miss.
It's all about goals in 2004. Be flexible. Leave some room to miss. But aim high.