The start of a new year is here, and so is the traditional list of resolutions drawn up with the best of intentions: losing a few kilos, doing more sport, adopting a healthier diet.

Does that make sense?

“Good resolutions always make sense, every day of the year,” says psychologist Kareen Klippel, founder of the sportpsychologe.de network.

After all, such good intentions are also an opportunity to reflect on one’s lifestyle.

There are a few things we should bear in mind when drawing up actual resolutions, however.

Finding a good reason: You should really think about why you would like to change something, Klippel notes.

“Acknowledging the need ‘behind’ the resolution can really motivate us to implement it.”

It is important for resolutions to feel good. And thinking about the change we intend to make should prompt the pleasure of anticipation rather than a sense of sacrifice.

Establishing concrete goals: The best thing is to adopt SMART goals, Klippel says.

S stands for specific: resolutions should be formulated in a way that is as clear and precise as possible.

M stands for measurable, so that you can check whether you have actually accomplished your goal.

A stands for attainable: goals should be positive and prompt a feeling of anticipation.

R stands for realistic, while T means time-bound: there should be a set date by which the goal should be achieved.

Really engaging: Resolutions often sound great, but implementation fails. What should you do to prevent that?

“It sounds almost trivial, but it’s the most effective thing: ‘Just do it!’” Klippel says, as the first step is often the hardest.

However, once you have stuck to your resolution through Jan 1, the probability of keeping it up on Jan 2 increases.

Depending on your resolution, it also helps to seek a training partner or join a sports group, for example. – dpa