10 tips to make your New Year's resolution a success
Many of us will make a healthy New Year's resolution – maybe to lose weight, quit smoking or drink less – but what's the best way to stick to it?
Psychologists have found we're more likely to succeed if we break our resolution into smaller goals that are specific, measurable and time-based.
Top 10 goal-setting tips
1. Make only one resolution. Your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.
2. Don't wait until New Year's Eve to choose your resolution. Take some time out a few days before and think about what you want to achieve.
3. Avoid previous resolutions. Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.
4. Don't run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.
5. Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable and time-based.
6. Tell your friends and family about your goals. You're more likely to get support and want to avoid failure.
7. To stay motivated, make a checklist of how achieving your resolution will help you.
8. Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, which will help to motivate you and give you a sense of progress.
9. Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a handwritten journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.
10. Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary setback rather than a reason to give up altogether.
Below are some of the most common New Year health resolutions, with links to help you get started and achieve your goal.
- Lose weight: get practical tips to lose excess weight, including getting started, healthy food swaps, and our 12-week weight loss plan.
- Quit smoking: we've got all you need to help you achieve your goal to stop smoking, including the free NHS Smokefree app.
- Get active: boost your fitness with fun and practical ideas to help you get into shape, including Couch to 5K, Strength and Flex and the NHS Fitness Studio.
- Drink less alcohol: calculate your units, get tips on cutting down, track your drinking and find out where to get help and support.
- Eat more fruit and veg: whether you're cooking for a family or eating on the go, our tips and recipes can help you get your 5 A Day.
Page last reviewed: 18 December 2016
Next review due: 18 December 2019