Every year, 41–58 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Every year, over 90 percent of resolution-makers lose their resolve. How can you avoid joining the “failed” majority? 


The first thing to remember is that annual resolutions are no different from any other goals: you have to believe in them, visualize them, and work at them. Here’s a Top 10 list of tips for keeping resolutions alive—and if you happen to read this on January 23, or June 23, apply these to any immediate goal you like! 


(Parents: Make an annual, quarterly, or monthly tradition of discussing and defining goals as a family. Teach these principles to your children, and they’ll rarely get caught in a rut later in life.) 


  1. Define Your Resolutions Clearly


If you set such vague goals as “lose weight,” “get more exercise,” or “spend time with my family,” you won’t get far because you’ll have nothing definite to aim for. Know in detail what the ideal result will look like, how long it will take, and how you’ll keep reaping long-term benefits afterward. If you can, get an expert’s opinion on what will work for you. 


  1. Make Resolutions Achievable,But Challenging 


Goals that are neither too difficult nor too easy will appeal to your determination, anticipation, and passion—all of which keep you motivated to move forward daily. 


  1. Don’t Make Too Many Resolutions at Once


Most people have trouble focusing on more than three goals at a time. Especially if you’re a novice at goal achievement, more is not better: felt obligation to move daily toward each of twelve goals can drive you to despair. 


  1. Write Your Resolutions Down, or Create a Vision Board


Put each goal into tangible form to “see” it clearly and consistently. By making it as real as possible in the present, you naturally act to bring it about. 


  1. Review Your Resolutions Regularly


Even in tangible form, goals die of neglect if left in a drawer. Put your list where you’ll see it regularly (changing the location occasionally to avoid developing blind spots), and review it thoroughly once a month. 


  1. Be Prepared for Course Corrections


Schedule steps toward your goals, but stay flexible: you can’t anticipate perfectly how everything will work out. Don’t handcuff yourself to every hyphen in Plan A. 


  1. Be Prepared for Delays and Struggles


Worse than fighting course corrections is giving up at the first setback. This is less likely to happen if you accept from the beginning that there will be setbacks, and they can be overcome. 


  1. TakeEvery Day as a New Start 


If you “blow” your healthy-eating plan, you haven’t proved you might as well give up—you’ve had one bad day. Visualize yourself “wiping the slate clean” before bed, and starting fresh with a healthy breakfast tomorrow. 


  1. Believe in Your Resolutions


If you resolve to make a change simply because you think you “should,” you’ll lack adequate commitment. Look for goals that speak to your passions. 


  1. Believe in Yourself


You are a capable, lovable person born to succeed. Remind yourself of that daily, and you’ll eliminate most of the roadblocks between you and your goal!