Whether you want to shed a few pounds or read a book every month, the beginning of the year is a common time to make your desires into official goals.

Your New Year's resolutions are also an opportunity to think about changes you can make that will improve your health. Let's consider what successful resolutions usually look like.

Be specific

If you resolve to lose a little weight, that is a very nebulous goal. How will you get there? When will you know you have succeeded?

Instead, try to make resolutions that are measurable and specific. Perhaps you can commit to eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day or to walking 20 minutes three times a week. You will easily know whether you are accomplishing these goals. If you just resolve to lose weight or to get healthier, it's hard to say what kind of progress you're making and what you need to do next.

Start small

Create a series of small steps that will get you to your goal. Do you want to run a 5K? You might want to start with running five days every week for five minutes, for example, and plan to expand your activity from there. There is a way to break down nearly any goal you set into incremental steps. If you're stumped, try looking it up online or talking to friends who have made the same changes.

Sample resolutions

Your New Year's resolutions can be anything you can imagine. But if you're interested in a goal that will help you manage your diabetes, consider ideas like these:

• Know your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers, and take specific steps to manage them
• Get an eye exam this year
• Create a meal plan that you can reasonably follow at least 80 percent of the time
• Add exercise to your daily routine in some way
• Commit to learning more about diabetes throughout the year

If you pick one or more of these resolutions, you may find your diabetes care improves over the course of the new year!

For more on setting goals:

New Year, New Goals: Making Realistic Resolutions
What Should Your A1c Goal Be?
New Year's Resolutions for People with Diabetes