List of New Year's resolutions on a notepad in front of a calendar.

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

So New Year’s Eve has passed, and you have made all of these promises to yourself to make a better you in 2017. Three days in and you’re doing great, but here comes the hard part: actually sticking to it for longer than a week. So when the going gets tough, try these helpful hints to get the tough going again.

Remember: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

Be realistic with how long your resolution will take you to complete. Losing twenty pounds is a great goal, but do not get discouraged when January 7th comes around and you have only lost two. Losing two to four pounds per week is considered a very healthy rate of weight loss.

This goes for other lifestyle changes as well. Changing behavioral habits can take some time. Studies have shown that it takes a little more than two months for behavioral changes to become natural to the average adult. From yelling at your kids less to quitting smoking or even doing the dishes right after dinner; have patience, it will take a little time.

You Have to Walk Before You Can Run

If your goal is to bench press three hundred pounds, you wouldn't put all three hundred pounds on the bar your first day. You would start with just the bar and then gradually add weight as you get stronger.

Same goes for lifestyle changes. If you try to change everything in your life all at once, you are sure to fail. So try having one BIG new year's resolution, and some smaller goals that will help you stay on track. For instance, if you want to live a life like your favorite vegan yogi on Instagram, but you have never eaten kale or stepped foot in a yoga class before, diving right into that lifestyle may be overwhelming. So pick one small goal to accomplish each week. Your first goal might be to start taking yoga, your second would be to start eating more vegetables, goal three is to eat less meat, and so on. These smaller steps will help you feel successful on your way to the big resolution.

It Takes a Village

Support is key. Surround yourself with other individuals who will give you the support you need on this journey. Maybe it is a friend or family member. However, if that is not available to you, the age of technology will bring it right to your fingertips. Find a group or start one on your favorite social media page. Not only will you be able to find inspiration from others, it is a great way to keep yourself accountable.

Fishing for Someone Else’s Dinner Doesn't Taste Good

If you are already frustrated with your new year's resolution, take a step back and ask yourself “Am I doing this because I want to?” and “Am I doing this for me?”. Tasks done for someone else are miserable to do, but when you are doing something for yourself, they become much more bearable (sometimes, even fun).

So don’t lose the weight because someone else wants you to, and don’t run a 5K because your spouse says it is a good idea. Lose the weight so you will be healthier and feel better about yourself. Run that 5K because you want to cross it off your bucket list.

Review, Revise, Restart

We think we know what we want and what is best for us. But believe it or not, sometimes we’re wrong. So if your resolution isn’t making you as happy as you thought it would, review why you did it and what you want out of it, revise your plan, and start again. If you decide the plan you are on isn’t working for you, change it. If you don’t really want the goal you are working for, find a new one. Not accomplishing your new year's resolution doesn't make you a failure if you decide it wasn't the right path for you. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find what you are looking for.

Don’t get discouraged when the “new” wears off your new year's resolution. Just keep in mind these simple ideas to keep you moving towards your goals. If you have some patience, take baby steps, get some support, do it for you, and change when you need to, you will be fast on your way to the best you in 2017!

Anna Mahoney is a Licensed Acupuncturist with a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition from Rutgers University. In her practice, she focuses on bringing her patients back to health through Chinese Medicine, nutritional counseling, and overall wellness care. In her personal life, she is a passionate cook, musician, yogi, and athlete. Anna lives in New Jersey, with her husband, John, and their dog, Betty. Anna blogs at The Green Banana.