2016 has arrived so brace yourselves for the “New Year, New Me” sayings and the catchy clichés such as “it’s time to turn the page and start the next chapter of my life.” These sayings would be wonderful if we were able to stay focused and motivated for the entire year as opposed to only a few days in order to achieve the goals we promised to uphold.

A new year often feels like a fresh start, or a chance to break bad habits and work toward an overall better you. It is best to start off by setting a realistic goal. Sure, it is fine to say you want to lose weight, but you should also specify how much you want to lose as well as how your are going to go about it. Laying out a course of action will make these goals more realistic. When you determine your goal, write it down so you do not lose sight of the mission you seek to accomplish. Although you may have multiple New Year’s resolutions, it is best to just start with one. Remember, you have 365 days to cross them all off the list, and choosing multiple goals all at once can make you lose focus.

Taking on too much is one of the most common reasons why so many New Year Resolutions fail. Take small steps so this does not happen. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, start by replacing some of your favorite junk foods with something more nutritious. Small changes will make it easier for you to stick to new habits and forget the old. It is also important to keep in mind that you will at times give in to your old habits. If you find that you are constantly choosing the same goals each and every year and still find difficulty succeeding, consider altering your strategy as there will be a higher probability of success with a change in approach. Ask yourself why you failed at achieving your goal last year and also what you can do to avoid the same outcome.

A final piece of advice is to keep working on your goals throughout the entire year. It seems by February many people forget about their resolutions and go back to their bad habits. The motivation that once burned fire has slowly washed away. Always find inspiration, like for example a buddy who shares similar goals. Re-evaluate and develop a new plan if you find yourself constantly struggling. For every goal you accomplish, cross it off the list and write down a new dream, wish, goal, or achievement–whatever you call it, get it done! The desire to achieve your goals should be stronger than the desire to give up. Remember, the good things in life don’t come easy!

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