It’s a new year and resolutions are being made once again. And once again, many will be broken.

Here are a ways to help make changes that stick:

  1. Be realistic when setting goals. If your goals are too big (and the goals most of us make tend to be too big), break them down into small pieces and work on them one at a time for the 21 days it takes to form a habit. If that doesn’t work, the most likely reason is your goal is still too big; so break the goal down into even smaller pieces.
  2. Replace your bad habits with new habits. Instead of biting my nails, a 40+ year habit I changed, I clip my nails with a clipper each Friday morning, and I started wearing gloves when driving after I realized I was biting nails during “boring” drives.
  3. Respect the limits of willpower by making your new habits easier (or making the old habits harder). People who are trying to give up drinking don’t surround themselves with alcohol. People who are trying to eat better don’t surround themselves with unhealthy foods. Find healthy snacks you enjoy and keep them around—almond butter on a whole wheat cracker, apples or other fruit—and empty your house of the bad stuff.
  4. Tell others about your goals. As part of the corporate wellness program at our company, there are periodic wellness “contests” and I, and others, find it motivating. The other reason to tell other people is it creates accountability. I even feel accountable to my Fitbit (more on that in a future post).
  5. Remember, you are not perfect. No one is. In fact, a goal of perfection is a guarantee of failure. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on the horse and start again.

What are your experiences with making changes? Join the conversation with your comments…

Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2016!