The start of a new year is a refreshing chance to improve, dream and be inspired—and then reality sets in.

New Year’s resolutions are best known for failing. Crowded January gyms become positively spacious in February. Monday’s green smoothies somehow morph into hastily prepared bagels by Friday. A pledge to be more creative quickly becomes a cluttered pile of crafting supplies, a stack of unread books, or half-stripped furniture.

I’d like to challenge your perspective. New Year’s resolution don’t need to be synonymous with failure.

Here’s the secret. Making the resolution on a hazy New Year’s Day is not the problem.

The bit that trips us up is our belief that dramatic, lasting change can occur from a single decision. “I think I’ll lose 20 pounds this year.” An all-or-nothing approach without a plan is not sustainable.

For any real change to happen, you first need to make room in your life for what you want to achieve. How can you expect to change your eating habits if your favourite snacks still fill the pantry? How can you commit to an hour at the gym if you always take the elevator at work instead spending five minutes to take the stairs? Real change begins with making small choices everyday to support your resolution. Begin small and work on replacing bad habits with good habits one-by-one. This will set the foundation for long-term success.

Even as you gradually replace your bad habits with awesome new ones, you’ll only be able to fully commit to your New Year’s resolution if you deeply consider your own reasons for making this change in your life. Most people don’t resolve to lose weight only because they prefer one number on the scale over another. There is a deeper meaning: better health so they can keep up with their children on the playground; a more positive relationship with food; an improved self-image. What is your “why”?

When we choose a New Year’s resolution with real motivation behind it, we’re equipped for long-term commitment and long-term results. This is the kind of resolution that doesn’t melt away in March. It is hard work because it’s worth it.

I’ve been there. I believe in you and I’m here for you. I can help you understand your motivation and make room for the change you deserve.

If you’ve made a resolution and find yourself struggling to stay committed, now is the perfect time for us to connect. Please email me personally and share your resolution and check out the programs and events available at followitthru.com.

I would like to leave you with three tips for long-term New Year’s resolution success:

  • Focus on one good new habit at a time. Once you execute that habit successfully on a daily            basis, tackle a new one. This is sustainable habit change.
  • Track your success by setting measurable goals. Plan a celebration when you achieve each goal along the way.
  • Spend your energy on what you can control, not the things that are outside of your control.