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The time-honored tradition of abandoning your New Year’s resolutions is almost as old as New Year’s resolutions themselves.

In fact, the statistics tell the tale—only 12 percent of people succeed with their New Year’s resolutions.

The rest give up at some point during the year.

We can officially celebrate the occasion on January 17th, which is Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.

This is a day to relax and stop feeling guilty about resolutions you struggle to keep.

Abandon those unrealistic goals you made on January 1st and instead get on the right track to real, sustainable change.

9 Tips to Re-Thinking Your Resolutions

Resolutions are all about behavioral change.

And behavioral change boils down to habit change, a topic discussed in detail in our 4-part series.

Here are some tips on how to ‘ditch’ (and reevaluate) your resolutions intelligently:

  1. Narrow Down Your Goals: If your goal is too broad, you will flounder. For example, instead of saying you want to ‘get more exercise,’ establish a goal of walking around the block three times a week. A ‘slow and steady’ approach with specific goals is more effective than ‘I want it all now’ thinking.
  2. Avoid Overdoing It: It is unrealistic to believe you can change everything all at once; in fact, it might set you up for failure. Focus on changing one habit at a time.
  3. Figure out Your Why: Understand what motivates you. It is likely less about ‘losing weight’ and more about having the energy to play with your kids (or grandkids).
  4. Get Support: Make sure that you have a team of people who can back you up and keep you accountable. Having a success ‘buddy’ or partner will help you get to your goal faster and easier than if you are alone.
  5. Track Your Progress: Break down your goal into small manageable steps or milestones that can be measured and monitored. Be patient as going slowly sometimes ‘gets you there’ faster.
  6. Apply the Power of Substitution: Find a new, healthier habit to substitute the old habit you want to discard. If you just try to get rid of a bad habit without a replacement, it will be more difficult to make the behavioral change stick.
  7. Be Gentle with Yourself: Be kind to yourself if you have setbacks. Keep in mind that change is about progress, not perfection.
  8. Be Aware of Triggers: Make sure you are conscious of feelings, events, activities, and places that might tempt you into an old behavior. If you want to give up coffee or potato chips, bring more health-promoting snacks into the house!
  9. Anticipate: Obstacles will be inevitable so plan for them. For example, if you are transitioning to a plant-based diet and going to be eating at someone else’s home, call the host/hostess in advance and explain your special dietary needs or bring your own plant-based dish that everyone can enjoy.

And to celebrate Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day here is a great recipe for Easy One-Pan Potato Bake.

Prepare it and invite your friends and family over so you can ditch your New Year’s resolutions together and start getting your goals on the right track.

Happy Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day!

Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD

President & CEO, Plant-Based Life Foundation | Dr. Rosane Oliveira combines a lifelong passion for nutrition with 25 years of genetics research to create programs that help people develop healthy habits on their journey towards a more plant-based lifestyle. She is a Visiting Clinical Professor in Public Health Sciences and was the founding director of the first Integrative Medicine program at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She completed her postgraduate studies in Brazil and did her postdoctoral training in immunogenetics and functional genomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.