Ever won­der why the res­o­lu­tions you make in Jan­u­ary don’t stick around after March? You aren’t alone! Stud­ies show that only 8% of peo­ple keep their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Only 8%! Why? And how do peo­ple achieve their goals set at New Year’s? We’ve bro­ken it down for you so you can iden­ti­fy your goal-break­er as well as give you some tips on how to make those res­o­lu­tions stick.

There are three main rea­sons that New Year’s res­o­lu­tions fail. The first goal-break­er is tak­ing on too much (too big of a goal) and expect­ing it to hap­pen too fast. Researchers have found that it takes 66 days to break a habit. That’s much high­er than the pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished 21 days. It con­verse­ly means that it also takes 66 days to form a new habit. So, bat­tle your goal-break­er by set­ting small­er goals and not expect­ing to mas­ter those res­o­lu­tions by the end of the month.

The sec­ond rea­son you fail to keep your res­o­lu­tion is you don’t have any­one sup­port­ing you. This could be because you sim­ply didn’t tell any­one that you have new life goals. It could also be due to fear of account­abil­i­ty. You need some life-cheer­lead­ers that root you on to vic­to­ry. These cheer­lead­ers also call you out when you are rid­ing off the tracks. Their sup­port isn’t tied to your achieve­ment of your goals but instead their sup­port is firm­ly tied to you and they want to see you succeed.

The last goal-break­er is that you don’t believe in your­self! When you make New Year’s res­o­lu­tions that are super unat­tain­able, and then you fail, you doubt your­self. When this cycle per­sists, time and again, you fill your head up with neg­a­tive thoughts and begin believ­ing you aren’t capa­ble of accom­plish­ing any­thing. Self-doubt is powerful.

Now, let’s steer this ship back on course with some tips on KEEPING your New Year’s resolutions.

Remember that bigger isn’t always better. 

Set your res­o­lu­tions as small, attain­able, goals.  With those small goals, set real­is­tic time­lines to achieve them. Avoid “I want to run the Iron­man by Novem­ber” if you’ve nev­er run more than 2 times a month. Set your goal as “I want to run a 5K by Christ­mas” and work towards increas­ing your endurance each week.

Reward yourself along the way.

If exer­cis­ing is your goal, reward your­self with a trip to the movies if you go to the gym 3 times a week. When you look for­ward to rewards, and you feel like they are attain­able, you are more like­ly to work hard to get them!

Tell others about your resolutions. 

Find­ing an account­abil­i­ty part­ner helps keep your ship on course as they can encour­age you for achieve­ments as well as guide you back to the course when you start to stray.

Write your goals down on paper. 

Mark Mur­phy says Writ­ing things down doesn’t just help you remem­ber, it makes your mind more effi­cient by help­ing you focus on the tru­ly impor­tant stuff. And your goals absolute­ly should qual­i­fy as tru­ly impor­tant stuff.”

Identify your purpose. 

Know­ing your “WHAT” (goal) is impor­tant, but know­ing “WHY” can be just as impor­tant when it comes to fol­low­ing through on your inten­tions. Why do you want to lose weight in 2019? When you put the why to the what, you are tru­ly focused on what mat­ters. “I want to lose weight so that I can play with my chil­dren with­out get­ting tired and show them that hard work is worth it.”  Now, THAT’S a great goal.

Iden­ti­fy­ing goal-break­ers and goal-mak­ers are equal­ly impor­tant pieces to achiev­ing what you set out to accom­plish, espe­cial­ly with regards to New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Make this the year your goals become real­i­ty by focus­ing on these five sim­ple tips.