If you’ve made a new year’s resolution, chances are you are doing it to have a healthier lifestyle.  Recognizing the need for change is a big step towards that goal.  Ultimately though, success will rest on sticking with that resolution for the long term.  Here are some tips to help with keeping your resolutions:

  1. Have a plan: Committing to change will take careful planning. In order to succeed, you will need to identify specifics in your behavior that have to change. Try writing down steps you need to take in order to keep your resolution. Refer back often to that list to help keep you motivated in attaining goals.
  1. Set small goals: Thinking of your resolutions in the long term can be daunting. Instead, set short term benchmarks for yourself. For example, if you resolution is to exercise more, set a goal of the number of times for a gym visit in a two week period. Challenging yourself to meet or exceed that short goal will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to set another goal.
  1. Be realistic: Do not make your goals so lofty as to be unobtainable. Saying you will never eat your favorite food again is unrealistic. Instead, make a plan to eat it only once a month rather than to usual once or twice a week.
  1. Talk with (the right) people: Talking with people about your resolution can be helpful. By telling friends and family your goals, you now have an extra level of commitment. Be sure to avoid naysayers, though. Someone else’s negativity can be a drag on your spirit.
  1. Recognize that you will stumble: Eventually you will have a slip when it comes to your resolution. Maybe you have that large milkshake or miss your gym appointments for a week. Don’t be so discouraged that you give up. Instead, use it as motivation to get right back to your plan.
  1. Reward yourself: Rewards are strong motivation for meeting goals. Make sure your rewards aren’t counterintuitive. If you are celebrating a weight loss goal go out and buy a new outfit rather than a box of chocolate.