New Year’s resolutions are easy to break, as many of us know from experience. What are some steps we can take to make them last? “Any resolution to change needs to include small goals that are definable and accompanied by a solid plan on how you’ll get to that goal,” says Dr. Linda Nebeling, an expert in behavioral change and nutrition at the National Institutes of Health.
For instance, a resolution to lose 30 pounds may seem overwhelming. Instead, try setting smaller goals of losing 5 pounds a month for 6 months. Next, develop an action plan. You might decide to walk a half hour each day. You might stop buying vending-machine snacks. Or you might track calories.
Think about why you want to make the change. Is it important to you, or is it mostly influenced by others—like your doctor, your spouse or a friend? Research suggests that if it’s something you really want for yourself, if it’s meaningful to you, you’re more likely to stick to it.