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It’s that time of year again to make New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like many, you’ve come up with a list a mile long to fix every possible flaw in your life.

What happens within a few weeks? That list of possible improvements is crumpled up and tossed aside like holiday wrapping paper.

Experts say that resolutions should be manageable and things you can gradually work on throughout the year – not major life-altering changes that should take years to accomplish.

Here are 5 New Year’s resolution tips to keep in mind when you start planning what you’d like to work on throughout 2014.

Start small – Make resolutions you think you can keep. Don’t say you’re going to work out 7 days a week. That’s unrealistic. Try for 3 or maybe even 4 days. If you say you’re going to eat healthy this year, think about how you would do that. Maybe eat dessert only one day per week and have fruit the other days instead. If your goals are more realistic, you have a better chance of being successful.

Work on one thing at a time – You didn’t develop all of your bad habits overnight. So, fixing them all won’t happen that fast either. Pick a few things to work on during the year and set time limits for each. Work on one goal in January, then maybe another will span February through April – and so on.

Talk it out – If you share what you’re working on, chances are someone else you know may be working on the same goal. Ask around among your family and friends. If one of your resolutions has a support group, consider joining it. By including others in your goals, you’ll increase your chances of being successful.

Relax – Remember, you’re not perfect. Maybe you’ll miss a week at the gym because you’re not feeling well. Maybe you’ll splurge on an extra big bowl of ice cream. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Commit to moving past your slip up and keep on with your long-term goal.

Reach out – Some resolutions are more involved than just working out or shedding a few pounds. They may be deep-seeded issues that need more than just a friend’s support. If you’ve acknowledged a situation that needs to be changed, but it is a major issue, consider seeking professional counseling from a mental health specialist.

No matter what your resolutions are for 2014, remember to be realistic and gradually work on improving your situation. Writing down your resolutions, setting timelines and being practical will increase your chances of crossing them all off your list by the time 2015 rolls around.





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