You always hear about people making New Year’s Resolutions, but how often do you hear about them being fulfilled or continued throughout the year? This year I am challenging you to make a resolution and stick to it!

Here are some tips on making a resolution that you’ll be able to stick to:

Be very specific about your resolution. Don’t say: “I want to eat healthier.” Do say: “I will eat 2 cups of vegetables at lunch and dinner and snack on veggies.” Make realistic, measurable goals and write them down.

Go public. Tell your family and friends about your New Year goals. They can help hold you accountable for them. Let’s face it: If you tell the people closest to you that you’re entering a bike race, it’ll be a lot harder to bail out on it!

Practice new behaviors that encourage success. If you want to stop smoking, don’t hang out in smoke-filled bars or casinos. If you want to lose weight, don’t bring desserts, junk food, candy or ice cream into the house. Limit your exposure to people who are likely to encourage resolution-breaking. There’s a reason parolees aren’t allowed to hang out with known criminals–they’re a bad influence. Surround yourself with good ones.

Set mini goals and reward yourself. For example, if you’re working on quitting smoking each week you go without smoking reward yourself with a new shirt or a movie.

Get a partner in crime. If you are looking to exercise more chances are your friends are also looking to set up a New Year fitness plan as well. You’re more likely to stick with a workout schedule if you have someone to join you for those early morning runs, after-work gym trips and weekend yoga classes. You can also keep each other motivated by celebrating when you each achieve your fitness goal.

Plan ahead. Make appointments with a doctor, dietitian or counselor. Sign up for a gym membership or buy any equipment you need. Most gyms offer discounts this time of year as well!

One step at a time. Instead of starting your new exercise routine by training for a marathon, aim for a 20-minute walk each day. Instead of quitting smoking cold turkey smoke one less cigarette a day. If you break your resolution today, try again tomorrow.

What’s your New  Years Resolution?

Written by Dionna Childs, Wellness Education Graduate Assistant