Even before we clear the plates from that last holiday party, many of us will start concocting guilt-driven promises for how we will do better come January 1st. If you think back to resolutions past, how many of them were truly effective at helping you reach your goals? If your answer is, “not many”, then read on! People who set resolutions are actually ten times more likely to achieve their goals, so this is a great time to reflect on what you would like to achieve in 2017.

First, make it jive with something you truly care about. Tapping into that internal motivation will go a long way when it comes to sticking with your resolutions past the first days of January. For example, if you are concerned with environmental issues, perhaps setting a resolution that involves planning your meals better to reduce food waste would be a good focus.

Next, make sure that you are specific about what you are looking to achieve. General wishes such as, “lose weight”, or “eat better”, make it difficult to evaluate success and stay motivated. A more effective resolution might be, “lose an average of four pounds per month until I reach ‘x’ weight”. This is stated in a way that allows you to track your progress, and reinforces any changes you are making to get there. Take it a step further, and describe how you plan to reach your goals. For the above example you might add, “by using a food journal at least 3 days per week, weighing myself at least once per week, keeping monthly appointment with a Nutrition Consultant, and participating in at least 4 fitness classes per week”.

Lastly, set yourself up for success by putting a good support system in place before you even start. Think about what tools, or knowledge would make achieving your goals easier. Using the above example again, familiarizing yourself with the food journal available on the portal, making sure your scale is working & accessible, and finding a reliable workout buddy would make following through more likely. Discussing your plans with supportive friends or family can also help keep you focused, and reduce the chances that they unknowingly sabotage your progress.

Following these suggestions when making resolutions can help make 2017 your best year yet! But keep in mind, you don’t necessarily need to wait until New Year’s to get moving with your personal goals, get started today!