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How to succeed at your new year’s resolutions

There’s a good chance that come New Year’s Day, you will have made a resolution. Some 45 percent of Americans do each year, according to stats from a Details magazine article.

Ah, but here’s another stat from that same article: 1 in 3 of us give up on that resolution by the time January comes to a close. Giving up is so pervasive, that daysoftheyear.com has designated Jan. 17 as Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day!

Why the heck do we make resolutions each year — to lose weight, save money, exercise more, whatever — and then fail at them time and again?

Do we really want to not succeed again this year as well?


Here are some strategies to make that resolution a reality in 2016:

Make a plan! Why have we failed so often in the past? Probably because we make the resolution without a plan on how to make that resolution happen. Figure out what changes you have to make to be successful.

Write it down. Some people say that writing down their resolution plan and looking at it regularly helps them remain focused on what they are going to do. Give it a try.

Tell others. Share your plan with a friend or family member you know will be supportive. Maybe you can be each other’s cheerleader to keep going on your resolutions for the new year.

Get the tools you need. Ask yourself: what do I need to have to make sure this works? Say you resolve to drink more water. Well, the easiest way to make sure you do that is to carry around a water bottle. Everywhere. I decided I’d do this one year and everywhere I went — even from one room to the next in my home — that water bottle came along. Before long it was a habit (and still is) and my water intake is way up.

Start small — and specific. It’s the big, vague plans that trip us up. Maybe you want to save more money in 2016. How are you going to do that? If you’ve never been able to sock away money in the past, just saying you are going to save — let’s say a quarter of your paycheck — sounds daunting. In January you have to pay for all those holiday purchases.  Before you know it, you’ve given up on that idea. Instead, start really small, but specifically. For instance: I will save $10 a week in January. Then figure out how you will do that. Give up a couple days of lattes? Bring your lunch? Take the L instead of paying for parking downtown? You decide and then do it.

Keep track of progress — and failure. Assess daily how it’s going. Did you keep resolution today? How? Didn’t happen? What tripped you up? Being aware of  what works and what doesn’t can really help you stay on track.

Think positive. OK, so you messed up one day. Don’t beat yourself up. Decide to begin again fresh the next day. Again, it’s a good time to review why it didn’t work so you can avoid the pitfalls in the future. Or maybe you need to readjust your resolution. Just keep telling yourself you can do this — maybe slowly, but so what — and before you know it, you will.

Good luck!

PHOTO: The numerals that’ll be used at New York City’s celebration arrived earlier this month.  |  ANDREW BURTON~GETTY IMAGES