Healthy body

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.

Picture of a cup of coffee and a blank list titled New Year's resolutions
Credit:

Kenishirotie / Thinkstock

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.

Getting started

Below are some of the most common New Year health resolutions, with links to help you get started and achieve your goal.

Page last reviewed: 18/12/2016
Next review due: 18/12/2019