It’s that time of year again. The time when we get together with friends and family, enjoy good tidings and cheer, and make a resolution to start our year off right.

But we all know what will happen. You’ll make a resolution to not eat any chocolate, none at all, and by the third week of January, you’re eating so many Reese’s Pieces that you’re more chocolate and peanut butter than you are human.

“What’s the point?” you might ask. “Why make a resolution if you’re going to end up breaking it anyway?” Well, there’s actually quite a bit of science saying that you can make (and keep) your New Year’s resolution.

Setting Goals

Setting goals is something we all think we can do, but it’s actually one of the most difficult parts of the process. We can all say “I want to quit eating X” or “I should quit doing Y,” but sometimes we set goals that are out of reach.

The first step in achieving anything is setting a goal that is attainable, one that you can actually reach in a reasonable amount of time. Instead of saying that you want to stop eating chocolate entirely, maybe try breaking it up into attainable chunks.

“In January, I’ll only eat one piece of chocolate a week. In February, I’ll only eat one piece of chocolate every two weeks. In March, I’ll only eat one piece of chocolate. By April, I won’t be eating any more chocolate.”

By breaking up your big goal into smaller ones, you’re not only making it more manageable but also making it more likely that you’ll achieve it.

Staying Strong

Once you’ve set your goal, it’s time to achieve it. This, as we all know, is easier said than done. There is no magic bullet for it; it just takes hard work and determination. But there are a few things you can do to make it easier.

  • Find your triggers and avoid them.
    • When you’re addicted to a behavior, say, biting your nails, it’s important to find the triggers that make you bite your nails. When you can recognize those triggers, do your best to avoid them, or at least manage your exposure to them.
  • Reward good behaviors.
    • Every little win matters when it comes to breaking a habit. When you meet one of your smaller goals, it’s important to reward yourself. But don’t replace one bad habit with another.
  • Have some help.
    • Having a friend that will keep you accountable can do wonders for helping you achieve a goal. Have a trusted friend keep tabs on your behavior to make sure you’re meeting your mini-milestones. Or, if it helps, let your co-workers or family know you’re trying to achieve a goal. Sometimes our fear of failure and letting other people down can be enough to keep us on the track to success.

Find a New Behavior

Earlier, we said to not replace a bad habit with another, and that’s some of the best advice you could get when trying to hold up a New Year’s resolution. Instead, replace a bad habit with a good one. One of the best bad habit-replacers is exercise. Whether it’s going outside for a walk, going on a bike ride, or heading to the gym for a more intense workout, exercise puts in place a fantastic reward system for stomping out other bad habits.

This year at 11:59 p.m. when you remember you have to make a New Year’s resolution, try to think of one that’s attainable, not out of reach. Take the time to understand your goals and plan them out. Set up a support system that will help you avoid your triggers and reward small wins. But most importantly, don’t replace your bad habit with a new one; exercise is something you should be doing anyway, and there’s no better time to start than the beginning of a new year.

If you take our advice and decide to begin exercising, then chances are you’ll eventually start feeling some aches and pains; it’s only natural. Most of them will go away in a day or two, but others could be the sign of deeper issues. That’s where Airrosti comes in. We’ll take the time to diagnose the root cause of your pain and get you back to doing what you love fast.