We know, you're already losing hope. The last few years your hopes of losing weight, or saving money, or quitting smoking, or any of the other resolutions that people make this time of year just didn't work out, right?
Here's the good news: you're not alone. According to the University of Bristol, 88 percent of people who choose a New Year's resolution fail to achieve it.
Here's some more good news: this could be the year you finally pull it off. We've collected the best advice from experts who know how to keep you on track to finally achieve your goals. Here are 12 tips that will put you in the 12 percent who nail their resolutions this year.
1. Start RIGHT NOW
The only way you'll quit a bad habit or start a new one is to get lots of practice, so if you're serious about making a positive change don't wait until January.
2. Start fresh
An important part of succeeding at your resolution is managing your expectations. If you pick a resolution you've already given up on five times, you'll convince yourself from the start that you're doomed to fail. So pick a new goal instead and start the year off right.
3. Only make one resolution
You're already trying to force yourself to change your ways, which is hard enough. Don't complicate things by trying to completely change your behavior from the ground up. Focus on one specific thing you want to change.
4. Make it manageable
"This year my resolution is to save money, like half of my paycheck."
What are the odds you'll accomplish that? If you bite off more than you can chew, you won't get very far. Setting a smaller goal may seem like you're making things easy on yourself, but trust us, that's a good thing. Stick to baby steps.
5. Write it down!
If your resolution stays in your head you'll either forget about it, ignore it, or change it again and again until you're back to your old habits.
Grab a piece of paper write now and pencil something in. This way, you're accountable to a specific goal. Speaking of accountability...
6. Tell your friends
There will be times when your strength is fading, and your goal of losing weight isn't as appealing as that jelly doughnut in the break room. This is why you need a network of people you can trust to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Ultimately, you need to depend on your own willpower to achieve your goal, but support from your friends or family will keep you focused.
7. Small Rewards
If you don't drink any soda for two months, then have a glass at a family member's birthday party, have you really failed your resolution? You need to give yourself a break every so often, or else you'll wear yourself out.
To keep things orderly, plan a small break for yourself at big milestones, like every two weeks or a month.
8. Don't Give Up
As the saying goes, "Fall down seven times, stand up eight." Experts say you'll probably "fail" five or six times before achieving your goal. Just don't wait until next year to try again. Get back on that horse and learn from your mistakes.
9. Measure Your progress
You need to encourage yourself and appreciate the progress you're making, or else you'll be discouraged even while you're succeeding! Keep track of your goal and your achievements.
Take pictures, write in a journal, do whatever you need to make the most of your accomplishments, and use the momentum to keep doing even better.
10. Schedule Your Goal
Do you want to "read more" this year? That's pretty vague. You might end up sticking to a goal like this and still feeling disappointed with your results. Instead, make things really clear, like saying you want to read a book a month, so you have a time limit to motivate yourself with.
11. Lower Your Expectations
Rome wasn't built in a day, and the new, better person in your head won't be built in a year. Many people expect that achieving something small but meaningful, like losing a few pounds, will radically change their lives.
Appreciate the changes you make for what they are, and don't expect you'll change yourself entirely overnight.
12. Do your own thing
If you aim for a goal you're not passionate about, how will you motivate yourself to achieve it?
Many people are interested in goals like losing weight, eating healthier, or saving money, but don't feel like you have to pick one of these. Your resolution should be challenging, but fun to pursue, so pick something you'll enjoy!