Ah, déjà vu.

It’s New Year’s resolution time again.

shutterstock_297360362And you’re motivated.  This time around you vow to get organized, save money, exercise more, give up chocolate (OK, let’s not get carried away) and write the great American novel.

Then you stick to those resolutions like glue—for about two weeks.

Sound familiar?

We’ve all felt the sting of disappointment after breaking a promise to ourselves, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and helplessness. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  “It’s important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes,” reports the American Psychological Association. “It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.”

With that in mind, give yourself a break—and check out five tips for reaching your goals:

  • MAKE THEM REALISTIC: By setting goals that are attainable, you’re more apt to keep them. Want to start working out? Aiming for three days a week at the gym is realistic, while declaring seven days a week is likely a recipe for failure.
  • TACKLE A GOAL AT A TIME: If you try to change everything all at once, you’re bound to become overwhelmed, which often leads to stagnation. Start with one resolution and once you’ve accomplished it, you’ll be motivated by your success to take on another.
  • BE PATIENT: No one’s perfect. If you fall off the wagon, don’t give up—get back on. It takes time to develop negative behaviors and patterns, and it will take time to reverse them. (Rome wasn’t built in a day.) Reach out for support if needed by talking to a friend, family member or therapist.
  • REWARD YOURSELF: Get motivated by treating yourself for jobs well done. Set mini goals as you work toward the big one, with rewards such as a manicure or day at the beach. Just beware of self-sabotage. If you’re dieting, for example, don’t reward yourself with a pint of Ben & Jerrys.
  • DON’T GIVE UP: Keep going, no matter what. Remember, you are in charge—and you’ve got this!

Want more inspiration? Check out the following links.

Psych Central 

American Psychological Association