Here's how to stick to your New Year's resolution, once and for all–and it's actually a pretty easy strategy.


It's always better to set yourself up for success, so the same should go for your New Year's resolution. The whole "new year, new you" mentality can really get us carried away and have us making bold plans for massive lifestyle changes come January 1– but have you ever noticed that just because the calendar resets, new habits aren't magically easier to adopt and stick to than they were on December 31? This year, instead of boldly proclaiming your New Year's resolution to be something as sweeping as a no-sugar diet or swearing off all alcohol until 2020, there's a more effective way to structure those resolutions.

Health and wellness website Verywell–which reaches 25 million readers every month–surveyed its readers on their typical habits when it comes to setting and keeping their New Year's resolutions. The survey discovered that 60% of respondents are not successful at turning their wellness-related resolutions into permanent healthy habits. The data suggests people are setting unrealistic New Year's resolutions that are too difficult to keep.

To rectify this, Verywell's tip is to "avoid all-or-nothing-thinking." So, rather than saying, "My 2019 New Year's resolution is to stop eating bread" when you eat bread every single day, a more reasonable expectation is probably to limit your bread intake to the weekends only or a certain amount of meals per week. If you want to cut down on the amount of sugar you consume, being aware of the amount of sugar in foods and drinks you normally have. Setting a cap is probably more manageable than cutting all sugar out of your diet cold turkey when your body is used to having it regularly. Instead of a plan to "cook more" to save money and eat more healthfully, decide how many meals a week is actually doable for you.

The American Psychological Association recommends starting small and focusing on one behavior at a time rather than creating a laundry list of habits you want to stop. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD.

Thinking about a New Year's resolution this way has subsequent benefits that can further help you stick to your goals. This mindset encourages you to set specific goals rather than broad restrictions that make it hard to measure any level of success and to develop healthy habits rather than avoid "bad" habits, which is a more positive daily outlook.

So with that in mind, what's your new New Year's resolution?