As I mentioned in a post about organizing my family's medical records, I'm going to take the New Year's resolution plunge this year, making a list of things that I would like to accomplish. My chances are hit or miss with these goals; sometimes they stick, and sometimes they just don't.

To up the odds, I talked to Terri Savelle Foy, a life coach and author of "Make Your Dreams Bigger than Your Memories" about how to set and keep my New Year's resolutions. Here's the advice she shared with me:

According to Terri (, four out of five people who make New Year’s resolutions this month will eventually break them. In fact, one third won’t even make it to the end of January! To achieve your goals, Terri stresses the importance of not repeating the same mistakes.

“If you struggled in an area last year, make up your mind that you will defeat this thing and get in the best shape of your life,” said Terri. Here are some guidelines that Terri suggests as you start thinking about your goals:

Goals must be in writing. “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.”

Goals must be measurable. There’s a big difference in saying, “I want to lose weight” and saying “I will lose 10 pounds by March 1.” Your goals must be measured by something; this is what increases your chances of achieving them.

Goals must be realistic. If your goals are completely unrealistic, then you’re setting yourself up for defeat. Be practical.

Goals must have a deadline. You will be more determined to achieve your goal when you have a deadline, so always assign a deadline to your goals. It’s energizing and motivating.

Reward yourself when you reach certain milestones toward your goal. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, reward your progress and treat yourself when you reach 10 pounds. This will keep you motivated and help keep your momentum going.

Put yourself in situations that will be conducive to reaching your goals. Surround yourself with positive people who will help you achieve your goals. If your goal is to save money, don’t go out with friends who are lavish spenders.

How to keep your New Year's resolutions
Expert advice on making and keeping your goals for the new year.