14 Ways to Stick With Your New Year’s Resolution

Don’t give up just yet. Experts spill their secrets on how to maintain new healthy habits—no matter what your excuse is.

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I’M OVERWHELMED… Strive for balance.


Illustration by Susan Pilgrim Waters

Illustration by Susan Pilgrim Waters

“To avoid burning out early on your regimen, keep a balanced schedule,” says JJ Flizanes, a holistic fitness and lifestyle coach, author and host of The Fit 2 Love podcast. “If you added something to your schedule, see what you can delete or temporarily remove. We get overwhelmed with squeezing in new healthy habits because they fill our already busy schedules. What can you release to create space for something new?”

Related: How One Woman Lost 100 Pounds 

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I ALREADY FELL OFF THE WAGON… Don’t beat yourself up.

birthday cake

Photo by Yunhee Kim

Photo by Yunhee Kim

“If your New Year’s resolution was to quit sugar and you had a piece of birthday cake at your daughter’s party, instead of feeling guilty and regretting it just get right back on track the next time you eat, says Joy McCarthy, a certified holistic nutritionist and author of Joyous Detox: Your Complete Plan and Cookbook to Be Vibrant Every Day. “Guilt and regret will only bring you down and create stress. Being kind and forgiving to yourself is much more effective to helping you get back!”

Also see: Dietician-Approved Store-Bought Snacks

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Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

“Choose when you will exercise, and then block out your calendar so nothing else gets booked at that time,” says Andrea Speir, creator of the Speir Method and founder and owner of Speir Pilates in Santa Monica. “The first thing we do when something else presents itself is scratch off the thing that is actually for us. Your health will enable you to do everything else in life more effectively and with more passion and vigor. Remind yourself of that when you claim that hour for yourself and truly book it in like you would any important event!”

Related: Stretches You Can Do Anytime, Anyplace

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meal prep eggs

Photo by RJT LLC/Karla Conrad

Photo by RJT LLC/Karla Conrad

“Choose a day (I like Sundays) to plan out your meals for the week, then get your grocery shopping done,” says Speir. “Getting yourself prepared when you have the time will keep you from the moments of mindless snacking on chips or cookies when you get hungry and don't have food. It also helps you to cook fun, nutritious recipes that you were excited about before you got wrapped up in the week.”

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I’M SO TIRED… Take a nap.

Woman sleeping

Photo by Panichgul Studios Inc/Kritsada Panichgul

Photo by Panichgul Studios Inc/Kritsada Panichgul

“There are natural dips in our circadian rhythm showing that were actually meant to have two sleep periods, a long one at night and a shorter one during the day (right around that time you feel that afternoon slump!),” says Naomi Whittel, author of Glow 15: A Science-Based Plan to Lose Weight, Revitalize Your Skin, and Invigorate Your Life. “A 20-minute nap can significantly increase alertness and improve mood. Try drinking caffeine right before the nap—it can help boost alertness upon waking.”

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I LOVE JUNK FOOD… Save your cash.

vending machine

Photo by Christopher Gallo Photography/Christopher Gallo

Photo by Christopher Gallo Photography/Christopher Gallo

“I like to remind my clients not to buy their problem foods,” says Autumn Calabrese, Beachbody Super Trainer and creator of 80 Day Obsession and 21 Day Fix. “If you know you have a hard time resisting cookies, don't keep them in the house. If you're trying to cut back on drinking soda, don't keep it stocked. You can't slip up if it’s not there in the first place.”

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I CAN’T FOCUS… Breathe.

breathe sign

Photo via Ladies’ Home Journal

Photo via Ladies’ Home Journal

“Take a few minutes each morning to meditate,” says Whittel. “Focus your mind on your goals for the day. Not only is this form of self-care a positive mind-shifter, it can keep you on the path to success.”

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I’M ALL ALONE... Create accountability.

Exhilarate by Bulldog Yoga

Photo courtesy of Exhilarate by Bulldog Yoga

Photo courtesy of Exhilarate by Bulldog Yoga

“Whether it’s a group, a partner, or a friend, when you have someone else in on your goal, you’re much more likely to stick with it, even when you want to give up,” says Robyn Youkilis, a certified wellness expert and author of Thin from Within: The Go With Your Gut Way to Lose Weight. “You’ll hold yourself to a higher standard than if you are just answering to yourself. As humans, we do better with support and accountability—so lean into that.”

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I DON’T LIKE WORKING OUT… Choose the right exercises.

pound workout

Photo courtesy of poundfit.com

Photo courtesy of poundfit.com

“Don't force yourself into a spin class if you count down the seconds—maybe a Zumba class is more your speed,” says Speir. “Pick your fitness classes as if you are choosing a hobby for fun, not for a result. That will help you stick with it because you won't burn out and then drop out!”

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I DON’T LIKE COOKING… Make it fun.


Photo by Jason Donnelly

Photo by Jason Donnelly

“Think about ways that you can infuse a little joy into it,” says Youkilis. “Maybe buy yourself a cute apron or some fancy new spices to make it feel more fun. If you have something you enjoy, you'll be more likely to not only keep your resolution but actually look forward to keeping it!”

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portion control

Photo by Jason Donnelly

Photo by Jason Donnelly

“Log the food you consume (like in an app),” says Calabrese. “Eating too much or too little are both equally damaging to your health and your results. Portion control containers not only help you track your portion sizes, they provide you with balanced macro nutrients (lean protein, healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates) throughout the day.”

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I LACK WILLPOWER… Consider your feelings.

food journal

Photo by RJT LLC/Scott Little 

Photo by RJT LLC/Scott Little 

“We're all imperfect, and so much of our health and wellness journey is emotional,” says Youkilis. “If you find yourself craving certain foods or sabotaging yourself, I suggest keeping a simple food-mood journal and writing down everything you eat and how it makes you feel—both in your head and gut (the two go hand-in-hand!). Sometimes our brains need a straightforward tool like this and to see it written down to encourage real and lasting change. You might start picking up on little changes you can make throughout your day that will lead you down the path to the health you crave!”

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personal trainer

“Hire professional help to develop a personalized plan with you,” says Flizanes. “People often get frustrated when they don't see the results they think they should, yet they had an amateur (themselves) create the plan. You can avoid wasted time and frustration and increase your chances at success when you decide to invest in your body and future by hiring a well-qualified pro to help you get on the right track.”

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ALL OF THESE APPLY TO ME... Practice self-compassion.


Photo by Helen Norman Photography/Helen Norman

Photo by Helen Norman Photography/Helen Norman

“It’s like having an internal voice that listens and is supportive and encouraging,” says Carrie Owerko, a senior Iyengar yoga teacher in New York City. “This is essential if you are going to sustain a daily practice of some sort. It’s about the ritual—the act of doing something every day—and being compassionate toward yourself, especially when you don't feel like doing it. Modify or vary your activity if you are tired. If you are doing a movement or breathing practice for instance, try to remember that (as long as it is healthy endeavor) it doesn't really matter what you practice, it matters that you practice.”

For even more tips, take a look at our wellness checkup plan.