Set New Year’s resolutions you’ll keep

New Year’s resolutions are a good thing. As you reflect on the past you see things in your life you wish were different. Some things you can’t change, but there are other areas of life you have a certain amount of control over. When you look forward to the year ahead, it’s those things you can resolve to change. A wise person is someone who sees his or her weaknesses and does something to fix them.

Looking forward to the New Year, what about your life would you like to change? Weight loss and getting fit both are two of the top five most common New Year’s resolutions. Chances are those are on your top five as well. It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s keeping them that’s hard. Three out of four people make it through the first week, less than half are still on track come June, and only eight percent are successful in the end.

How can you be in that eight percent? Here are five tips to make resolutions stick.

Dates that come around every year help us measure progress in our lives. One annual event, New Year’s Day, is a time of reflection and resolution. – Joseph B Wirthlin

1. Be Realistic

You may need to lose 50 pounds, but the thought of such a task sounds kind of overwhelming, don’t you think? Reaching such a goal could take months or even years. It’s easy to give up when your goal seems unattainable, but break it down into smaller, more manageable goals and you’re more likely to stick with it. Rather than looking at the 50 pounds, set a realistic goal to lose 10 pounds by May.

2. Make a Plan

Your diet is your downfall. You know you eat too many sweets, stop for fast food way too often, and snack mindlessly in front of the television. But if your resolution is to “never eat junk again” it’s not going to last long. You’ve got to have a plan, write it down, and post it on the refrigerator. Create a step-by-step strategy for how you’re going to improve your diet. This might mean limiting fast food to one meal a week, keeping all food out of the TV room, or snacking on fruit and nuts rather than chips and cookies.

3. Get Support

There’s a greater chance of failure when you’re left on your own to reach your goals. Having the support and accountability of family and friends makes your resolutions more attainable. It’s a lot easier to sleep in and skip your workout if no one is waiting for you at the gym. As you set your resolutions this year, make sure you’ve got the support necessary to follow through.

4. Set Daily Reminders

The decision to make healthy, lasting lifestyle changes isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a decision you make every day for the rest of your life. You’re weak, forgetful, and easily distracted, so every morning you’ve got to resolve again. Whether your goal is to run a 5K, eat organic, or control your diabetes, it’s a daily endeavor. Keep reminders posted on your mirror, in your car, or on your computer to help those habits stick.

5. Be Specific

Goals to “get fit” or “be healthy” are great goals, but they’re way too vague. How will you know when you’re fit or healthy? A lasting resolution is one that’s clearly defined. To measure fitness, your goal could be to jog a mile without stopping or bench press 75 pounds. A goal of good health might be to lower your blood pressure by five points, cut back on your diabetes medication, or lose 10 pounds.