How to achieve your New Year's resolutions

New Year's resolutions

Getty Images

Want to make those goals stick this year?  Here’s six no-fail tips to getting results:

Think ahead

According to Richard Koestner, a professor at McGill University in Montreal who specializes in motivation and goal-setting, people who start planning their New Year’s resolutions in early December have a better chance of success than those who make a last-minute list on January 1.

Record your goals

Or come up with some other way to solidify them. Katrina Carroll-Foster, an entrepreneur from Vancouver, bought a corkboard and tacked on images and words that reflected her goal of starting a business. “I thought the idea was a bit hokey at first, but once I tried it, I loved it,” she says.

Break them up

Ready to make a plan? Write your main goal at the top of the page. Then ask yourself what exactly you’re going to do to make it happen. Put a lock on your fridge to cut down on night noshing? Buy a new set of shoes and join a running club to work toward that 10K in the spring? Think what, where, when and how.

Prep for setbacks

It’s easy to fall off the wagon, but the trick is picking yourself up again. If you can’t figure out why your resolution is failing, enlist a friend to look at what you’re doing wrong and come up with a solution together.

Go high-tech

There are lots of web-friendly ways to stay on top of your resolutions. Check out HabitChanger.com to track your progress and receive reminders by email. Or try EmpowerMePhoto.com, a site where you can purchase an image of what you would look like at your dream weight. You can order your photo on a fridge magnet, wallet card or sticker starting at $21 .

You can do it

When was the last time you left for work without brushing your teeth or running a comb through your hair? Been a while, right? So if you secretly believe your resolutions will fail because you don’t have the gumption, stop thinking like that! You already have a track record of successful habits, says Edward Phillips, director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine in Boston, who uses this mind-bending technique with a lot of former smokers. “Hey, if you can quit smoking, you can do anything!” he says.