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Resolutions 2012: The Power Of The Checklist

To achieve your New Year's resolutions this time, Cosmo.ph columnist Bianca Valerio suggests taking baby steps. See how she applies this on this common goal among women: to lose weight.

Every year brings in new resolutions--even if we haven't yet accomplished those we made the previous year. The problem with resolutions is that we can get discouraged by the pressure and (for the most part) disappointments that pile up as the years go by.

It just isn't practical to focus our energies on grand resolutions like getting promoted to senior partner, getting a 20% raise, or even getting our dream guy to ask us out. Though these aren't impossible wishes, they are too aspirational at the immediate time. Which is not to say that you should scrap them altogether; keep them within your sight, as constant reminders of your life goals.

There are a ton of steps you'll need to climb to get to the top floor. To get to those grander goals, you need to achieve small resolutions first by means of a checklist. So as not to overwhelm you, start the checklist on a day-to-day basis, which can gradually build to weekly and monthly goals. Think of it as a map of your aspirations on a micro scale.

Here's a sample checklist for one common goal nearly every woman has: to lose weight.

Sunday
1. Spring clean my room of lingering junk taking up space.
2. Give my junk stash to the street beggars.
3. Start a food diary by writing down every morsel I eat to keep me on track.

Monday
1. Eat half my usual serving of breakfast and drink more water to fill up.
2. Drink a glass of water before lunch to get me full right away.
3. List what I ate today in my food diary.
4. Sleep early so I don't end up midnight-snacking.

Tuesday
1. Wake up bright and early and do 20 crunches to get my heart pumping.
2. Eat half my usual serving of breakfast and drink more water to fill up.
3. Drink a glass of water before lunch to get me full right away.
4. Substitute a snack of chips or cookies with a handful of honey-roasted almonds.
5. Drink a glass of water before dinner to get me full right away.
6. List what I ate today in my food diary.
7. Sleep early so I don't end up midnight-snacking.

Wednesday
1. Do two sets of 20 crunches.
2. Eat half my usual serving of breakfast and drink more water to fill up.
3. Order a skinny latte rather than whipped.
4. Take the stairs down going to lunch.
5. Drink a glass of water before lunch to get me full right away.
6. Eat fresh fruit as a snack.
7. Drink a glass of water before dinner to get me full right away.
8. List what I ate today in my food diary.
9. Sleep early so I don't end up midnight-snacking.

Thursday
1. Do two sets of 20 crunches.
2. Eat half my usual serving of breakfast and drink more water to fill up.
3. Order a skinny latte rather than whipped.
4. Take the stairs down going to lunch.
5. Drink a glass of water before lunch to get me full right away.
6. Take the stairs up from lunch.
7. Eat fresh fruit as a snack.
8. Drink a glass of water before dinner to get me full right away.
9. List what I ate today in my food diary.
10. Sleep early so I don't end up midnight-snacking.

You guys get the picture, right? Though the changes aren't drastic, the tasks seem more realistic and rewarding when you check things off as the day progresses. You'll feel better about yourself, knowing you accomplished baby tasks, which will eventually lead to the bigger tasks later on.

As your checklist becomes more intensive and relatively difficult, it won't feel too daunting or overwhelming because you didn't take a giant leap to get to them. You'll be surprised how much you can actually accomplish if you make the effort to jot in detail the steps needed to get to your main resolution, whatever it may be.

The key is to be honest with yourself because the proof is in the pudding!

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