No doubt you’ve made at least one new years resolution you didn’t stick to. Haven’t we all? This year can be different, though. Take a proactive approach to sticking with your resolution and you’ll be successful in your new year endeavor.

Set Realistic Goals
One of the quickest ways to set yourself up for failure is to set an impossible goal. For example, if you’ve vowed to lose 30 lbs in one month, you’re probably not going to reach that goal without surgery or magical powers. However, if you set a goal to lose an average of one pound per week for six months, you can absolutely attain your goal by sticking to a solid, healthy weight loss plan.

Choose a Single, Specific Resolution
What is the one most important positive change you could make to your behavior in the new year? Choosing more than one resolution means you have to split your dedication. The stress of making multiple lifestyle changes at the same time may cause you to fail at all attempts. Ideally, you must narrow down your resolution to one thing. The more precise you can be in identifying the change you want to make, the easier it will be to stick with it. Instead of making a resolution to “be healthier,” you may resolve to walk to work every day.

Be Publicly Accountable for your Resolution
Whether you tell your mom, a handful of friends, or post it to your Twitter feed, you must let people know about your resolution. Most friends and family will be happy to cheer you on when you succeed. More importantly, tell them when you mess up. They’ll help you get back on track if you start to lose momentum or focus in sticking to your plans. If working out is you goal, try to find a buddy who can keep the same schedule as you. If you’re quitting smoking, admit to your loved ones immediately if you have a cigarette. They’ll remind you why you’re quitting, so you’re strong enough to fight off the next craving.

Set a Time Limit
It’s very difficult to create a plan for reaching your goal without a specific time frame in which to achieve it. The time it takes to reach your goal is another area where you should remember to be realistic. While you must be sure you have enough time, you must also be sure not to give yourself too much time. Here’s an example: “I will workout for 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during my lunch break,” is much more specific than, “I will workout for 30 minutes at least three times this week.” You can see how the former is much more actionable than the latter.

Try a Resolution you Know You’ll Enjoy, Rather than one that Feels Like Punishment
If you love to paint, but find that it always falls to the bottom of your priority list, resolve to spend one hour each Saturday painting, no matter what. While fitting in time for a beloved hobby can sometimes feel forced or even selfish, it feeds your soul and brings you happiness. Something with such immediate benefits to your overall well-being will be relatively easy to stick to rather than making a dramatic lifestyle change. Other ideas for this type of resolution include, taking weekly lessons on an instrument you want to learn or getting involved as a volunteer with an organization whose work you respect.

Follow these tips to help you set and keep your New Year’s Resolution for real this year.

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