When I gained 25 pounds in the five months after graduating from college, my resolution for the New Year was to lose weight. But this goal had no real meaning or direction and didn't help me lose any of those pounds. Basically my resolution was the bare minimum of setting a weight-loss goal, which meant that my motivation soon waned and I cheated on my diet as soon as I was faced with a Friday-morning glazed doughnut at the office.

It wasn't until I read an article about how to make a "SMART" weight-loss goal—which stands for specific, measurable, accountable, realistic, timeframe—that I could transform my "lose weight" resolution into a much more attainable goal. View the slideshow to see how I set a SMART goal that helped me lose 25 pounds, which I've kept off for nearly seven years.