It's 30 seconds past midnight on the first day of the New Year and you've already broken your resolution to eat healthier. You tried. You really did. But that brownie literally called you over to eat it. Even thinking about hurting its feelings was completely out of the question, right?

Okay, okay. The your goal of practicing self-control may not have worn you down right then and there. But it's still an inevitable reality that you're going to break you resolutions at some point. In fact, the likelihood that you're actually going to stick to your resolutions by February is only 20%.

Before I go any further, I would just like to point out that not only is this okay, but incredibly normal and an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle! Yes, I said it. Giving yourself grace will keep you more motivated in the long run. So instead of beating yourself up over not being able to reach your goals, re-frame your mindset with these psychologically-backed tips that will help you maintain your resolutions in a realistic and enjoyable way.

1. Start with setting one or two goals that are most important to you

apple, 3 apples, fuji apples, red apples, apples in hand, Healthy, Fruit
Jocelyn Hsu

Trying to do too much at once almost never works. The best way to commit to a resolution is to ease yourself into the process instead of jumping right in with many different resolutions and expecting immediate results. Once you become confident in your control over one resolution, you can take on another and challenge yourself with a second goal.

For example, say you would like to improve your overall physical health. You could start by switching up your diet or getting enough exercise in your day. For the sake of argument, let's assume you choose the diet option. You start by focusing on one aspect of the larger goal that is most significant for you.

To sum things up: slow and steady wins the race.

2. Connect your resolution with small, concrete goals

meat, beef, bratwurst, mustard, sausage, bananas, filled grocery cart, Whole Foods Market, ham, Fruit, strawberries, Vegetables
Shelby Cohron

If your goals are vague, you might as well have no goals at all. Claiming that you are going to simply "eat healthier" or "get more exercise" pretty much sets you up for failure. Too much ambiguity leaves you with a loss of direction, thus making it much easier for you to stray from your resolutions.

Taking baby steps into the process, however, provides a sturdy framework for reaching the goals you'd like to meet. For example, pledging to meal prep every Sunday is more tangible than saying, "I'm going to stop eating fast food" or, "I'm going to eat better this year." Breaking your long-term goal into manageable short-term ones is more "beneficial and more rewarding" than general declarations of change.

3. Place a positive perspective on your resolution

cutie, tangerine, clif bar, studying, snacks, study snack, textbook, notes
Jocelyn Hsu

Affirmation resonates with the mind more than negativity. By putting a positive spin on your wording, its effects can result in an encouraging behavioral change. If your goal is to lessen the amount of sugar you eat, you could turn it around by telling yourself you will replace some of your sugary snacks with fruits and vegetables. The second sentence does not insinuate any restrictions like the first statement does. This provides you with a much more optimistic perception of your progress and leaves room for the ability to treat yourself without guilt.

4. Find a target resolution that will work for you

Cooking, college life, college dorm
Amy Dong

The most integral part of making a New Year's resolution is picking a goal that you want to work toward for the following year. The key to success is to pick enjoyable activities that work well with your schedule, motivations, and accountability. I mean, what's the fun in picking a goal that you aren't even excited about accomplishing? 

If you choose an unreasonable objective that just isn't working out with your lifestyle, it's easy to give up and feel discouraged. Spicing up your small, concrete goals by adding rewards, new challenges, realistic time accommodations, and even a little friendly competition will sustain your interest in the resolution and inspire you to retain focus on your target.

Sticking with our "healthy eating" example, if cooking and curiosity are things you're passionate about, dig up some new recipes you can make that pack in loads of nutrients and variety in each dish. Choose a couple nights a week when you'll have time to try them out—maybe even invite some guests over to relish in your adventures with you. 

5. Get enough sleep

cake, beer, tea, bed, blanket, pillow, sleeping, sleep, nap, napping
Jocelyn Hsu

I know you've probably heard this time and time again, but getting enough sleep at night will make your life so much better in every way. Most people require a minimum of 8 hours of sleep to be able to properly function in their daily lives. Establishing a consistent sleep routine and constructing a relaxation period for yourself before you get into bed will stabilize your circadian rhythms, or natural body schedule. 

Not only is sleep great for recharging the energy your body burned up during the day, but it is the key to improving your psychological health. Adequate sleep "makes it easier to avoid cravings for unhealthy foods [and] keeps off excess weight" without any extra exertion on your part. Sleep = natural diet regulator!

6. Don't be too hard on yourself

vegetable, cucumber, cucumber eyelids, smile, smiling girl, happy girl, happy, smiling
Julia Gilman

There's no stopping it—you're going to slip up sometimes. We all do. The motive behind any resolution you make should be directed by choices that increase your happiness, not unrealistic ideals of perfection. An overwhelming majority of psychological research states that people who make decisions that prioritize their free time over materialistic ideals are happier people. In fact, the more breaks you allow yourself, the more productivity you will muster when striving toward your end goal. Don't be afraid to allow yourself to rest! You will definitely see its benefits in the long run.

So what does this mean for you? Keep yourself motivated by doing things that are meaningful to you. If it means treating yourself with ice cream, do it. If it means going out to eat to spend time with your friends instead of making a home-cooked meal, do it. There are no limitations to how you approach your goals. They are completely personal to you and you alone.

The world is filled with conventional expectations of what a New Year's resolution should look like, but in reality, how you personalize it to fit your lifestyle is what makes a successful journey and a happier outcome for you.