By the middle of January, 25 percent of the people who have made New Year’s resolutions will have already given up. Fewer than half of us will keep our New Year’s resolutions for longer than six months.

Start thinking differently about your resolutions. What can you do in the first half of the year? What are some realistic goals that will jump­start you to change your life, long term?

… resolve this, not that

  1. Instead of resolving to lose 50 pounds … resolve to exercise 30 minutes, three times a week.
  2. Instead of resolving to give up desserts … resolve to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
  3. Instead of resolving to get out of debt … resolve to pay off one or two bills.
  4. Instead of resolving to get married … resolve to make a new friend every month.
  5. Instead of resolving to land your dream job … resolve to gain new job skills.

You’re not lowering your expectations. You’re setting attainable goals that will help you stay motivated to eventually reach your larger goals and make 2018 your best year ever.


How to set New years goals

  • Start small. Make promises that you can keep. Rather than make a resolution to exercise every day, aim to get to the gym three days a week. Instead of overhauling your entire diet, try replacing sugary treats with healthier options, like fruit.
  • Take a gradual approach. Making lifestyle changes may take time. Don’t expect miracles overnight. Try replacing one unhealthy behavior at a time.
  • Don’t go it alone. Talking about your resolutions and finding support can help you reach your goals. Try forming a group or take a class with others who have common goals. Having support and being able to talk about your struggles can make sticking to your resolutions less overwhelming.
  • Give yourself a break. No matter how hard people try, no one achieves perfection. Don’t give up on your resolutions if you make a mistake or have a setback. Move beyond your slip-up and get back on track.
  • Ask for help. If you feel like you need help to achieve your goal, seek the support of a health care professional. Psychologists are trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can help you find strategies that will make your goals more attainable and help you cope with challenges, including unhealthy behaviors, stress and emotional issues.