The tradition of New Year’s Resolutions began about 4,000 years ago by the Babylonians. The custom we practice today has since evolved over the years to become mostly secular as opposed to the religious emphasis revolving around prayers and promises to God(s).

New Year’s Resolutions are great in theory because they represent what and who you strive to be and usually it’s a ‘better’ version of your current self. We all want to be the best we can, so why do statistics show approximately 80% of people give up on their resolution by mid-February?

Only about 8% are actually successful in maintaining their resolution and achieving their goals. What’s their secret?

They Set Realistic Goals

One of the main issues people face when approaching a resolution is overestimating their abilities. It’s important to be practical when selecting a goal to work on. If you are new to working out, setting a goal to exercise at the gym 5 days a week likely won’t stick longer than a week or two. Making new habits that you will be able to maintain is difficult and that’s why baby steps are necessary. The first baby step could be just getting to the gym once a week and figuring out what to do with the machines. The next step could be creating a workout routine to build confidence when going to the gym. Maybe in April, you extend the frequency to twice a week and build from there.

They Manage Their Time

Don’t let ‘time’ be an excuse. Realize that you’re a busy person and then prioritize your game plan around your work, social and/or school schedule. If you can pick the same time each day to work on your goal this will smoothly integrate the new habit into your schedule. Goals don’t always require a lot of time every day. Outlining what you’d like to achieve and setting dates may also help with time management.

They Tag Team

It’s easier to reach your objective when you have support. If a friend or family member wishes to make the same resolution, help each other out by competing (for fun!) or encouraging habitual practice.

They Track Their Progress

Diaries aren’t just for elementary school girls. Use a diary or a journal to chart how many days you’ve stuck to the resolution, what you’ve accomplished so far, what your end goal is, etc. Be creative and colorful with your progress. It will make you proud when you look back at where you started.

They Celebrate Their Achievements

When you accomplish a goal, you should treat yourself! You’ve made improvements and even if they’re small you should still be proud of yourself for getting a step closer to your end goal. Giving yourself a pat on the back will also make you more eager to complete another goal. Your reward shouldn’t be something that contradicts what you’ve been working towards.