Happy almost 2015, everyone! As January 1st approaches, many of us are anticipating new beginnings, new journeys and, of course, New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe you decided it’s time to kickstart that gym habit, say goodbye to the tantalizing golden arches or give your fridge a heathy makeover. All worthy resolutions, I must say. But can we keep them?

If history bears any witness, New Year’s resolutions are infamously hard to maintain. Exactly one year ago, my goal was to cut out all processed foods at every single meal. How long did that last? Eh, let’s be generous and say 5 days. I’m sure we all have similar stories. Let’s make this year different. Here are 5 tips to make that resolution last more than 5 days.

new year's resolution

Photo by Siddhi Surana

1. Think gains, not losses.

It’s all about mentality. Take cutting carbs. Once we tell ourselves we can’t have carbs, what do we want most? Delicious, crave-worthy, guilty-pleasure carbs. To increase our chances of meeting our goals, we need to think about what we’ll gain rather than what we’ll lose. Instead of resolving to lose weight, for instance, we should resolve to gain health. Our bodies—and minds—will take to this new outlook more kindly.

new year's resolution

Photo by Wendy Sun

2. Start with 21 days.

They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. (By virtue of tip 1, we should focus on the “make.”) Plus, 21 is much less daunting than 365. Big things often have small beginnings.

new year's resolution

Photo by Walt Stoneburner

3. Keep a journal.

Document the journey: smooth coasting, speed bumps, potholes and all. Having a record of what works (and what doesn’t) will not only keep us accountable, but also help us learn from our experiences.

new year's resolution

Photo courtesy of ClipArt

4. Recruit friends.

Speaking of accountability, workout buddies are da bomb. There’s nothing more motivating than a living, breathing human being that will be utterly disappointed if you don’t show up at the gym. Even telling a lot of people about your goals will help, since they’re bound to remind you and ask you about it throughout the year.

new year's resolution

Photo by Siddhi Surana

5. Be kind to yourself.

Get rid of the “all-or-nothing” attitude. One slip-up isn’t a death sentence for your goal. Mistakes are bound to happen; we aren’t defined by how we fall, but by how we rise after falling.

Further reading:

10 Food Resolutions That Are Here to Stay

10 Extremely Easy Ways to Detox After the Holidays

Student Fitness Instructor on Working Out and Holiday Splurging