* Be specific. Rather than creating a general goal to lose weight, workout more, or eat healthier, set a goal that is measureable and realistic. If your goal is to lose weight, decide how many pounds you want to lose, and set a target date for the weight loss. If you want to work out more this year, think about how many times per week you want to hit the gym. This is an important step in setting a goal because it will keep you motivated, and allow you to assess your progress.
* Make a strategy. Take the time to think through what it will take to achieve your resolution and create benchmark goals throughout the year. Doing so will help you track your progress and create opportunities to reward yourself along the way. People often spend too much time critiquing themselves or focus on how far away they are from their end goal and forget to celebrate the smaller wins. Make a plan to reach your goal and reward yourself as you reach your milestones.
* Learn your barriers and find solutions. In our time-starved world it's not surprising that 20 percent of people say they don't have enough time to accomplish their New Year's resolution. Don't let your busy schedule hold you back from accomplishing your goal; instead, focus on doing a little bit every day. If you're on the go, choose a healthy snack like carrot sticks or walnuts to prevent you from reaching for sugary treats. The Bing Health & Fitness app for Windows 8.1 has nutritional information for more than 200,000 foods so you can compare your options and select the healthiest choice. If your busy day kept you from hitting the gym, don't let that be an excuse not to work out. The app also has more than 1,000 exercise videos so you can work out anywhere. And if you're too busy to get in a whole workout, select an area that needs some attention and the app will suggest workouts that target that area. With this app, you can stay on track by finding a workout that fits your schedule.
* Grab a partner. The buddy system is an effective way to achieve your goal. Find a friend or family member with the same goal so you can support each other and share tips along the way. At the beginning of the year, schedule workout dates and active get-togethers. Share recipes or make plans to cook together so you have healthy, ready-to-eat meals. Having someone hold you accountable will help inspire you to keep up your hard work, not to mention it also makes achieving your goal fun.
Follow these four tips and you'll be on your way to achieving your health and fitness goals in 2014.