A new year has just begun and many of us like to start it off with a fresh set of resolutions. But how do we make those resolutions last longer than the month of January? It’s easy to dream about the things we want to do, but we also need to put in the work to make it happen. Here are five tips to make your resolutions last.

  1. Write them down. It sounds simple, but the act of writing down your goals can help you achieve them. It is also beneficial to have something to look back on to remind you what you’re working towards. Take some time to plan out your goals, think about any obstacles you may face, and decide exactly what you want to achieve.
  2. Use SMART goals. When you write down your goals make them SMART:
    1. Specific: Your goal has a clearly defined outcome. For example, “I want to drink more water.”
    2. Measurable: Your goal has a quantifiable outcome; you can measure or track it – think numbers! For example, “I want to increase my water intake by 16 additional ounces each day.”
    3. Achievable: Think – is this goal realistic for you? Do you have the resources to accomplish it?
    4. Relevant: Will this goal benefit your life? Is this something that matters to you?
    5. Time-bound: Give your goals an endpoint, or a timeline. For example, “I will increase my water intake by 16 additional ounces each day for the next week.”
  3. Start small. Dip your toes in the water before jumping into the pool! Make small changes first. For example, if you want to revamp your eating habits you may want to start first by increasing your water intake or increasing fruits and vegetables, rather than eliminating multiple foods. Take the time to ease into your new lifestyle so it is more sustainable, and you’ll be less likely to lose motivation. Small changes add up to big changes over time.
  4. Stay consistent. It takes time to see progress so don’t give up on yourself or your goals. Be patient and allow yourself time. If you have a slip-up, keep going rather than giving up. One mistake will not erase all your hard work.
  5. Update your goals. If you start with small goals, you’ll achieve them in small steps over time. Once you achieve your initial goals, build on them! Each time you make an accomplishment, update your goals from there. Keep in mind, as you continue to make progress you may find your vision of the end goal can change. It’s okay to be flexible and update it as you go!

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be frustrating and disappointing. Make sure you choose the right goals for you and take the steps to set yourself up for success. You’ll be amazed to see what you can accomplish by next year!

Michelle Murdolo, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist who guides patients through their bariatric surgery and weight management journey. She comes from a background of eating disorders and disordered eating and emphasizes body positivity and health.