12/30/2013 02:46 pm ET Updated Mar 01, 2014

Tips for Choosing the Right Resolution: How You Can Set Yourself Up for Success

Have you made countless New Year's resolutions, only to fail miserably each time?
Does the pressure of keeping your resolutions stress you out?
Do you feel the need to make a resolution that counts, one that can actually help you improve your quality of life?

You probably just need some guidance in choosing the "right" resolution. One size fits all doesn't apply here, so keep your own interests and goals in mind as you choose a resolution.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you're coming up with your new year's resolution:

1. Pick a resolution you're likely to enjoy taking part in.

We all want to say we'll stop eating chocolate, more veggies, or double our gym time. The harsh reality is that doing those things isn't fun. At all. It's hard enough to stick to a resolution that will give you great results quickly -- like quitting smoking -- but it's close to impossible to keep up with a resolution that you dread taking part in Pick something you'll enjoy doing to ensure you don't slip up.

2. Stray from the beaten path.

Don't choose a resolution just because it's common. Your New Year's resolution could be about anything, so why focus on losing 20 pounds? Health improvements can be made year-round, not just at New Year's, and promising a complete lifestyle change (like losing 20 pounds and keeping it off would require) should be about more than just Jan. 1 -- it should be a decision you make to better yourself, and there's no time limit on that. So, pick something different. Cut back on TV or resolve to organize your home one room at a time. You know, if that's your thing.

3. Hold yourself accountable.

If this resolution is important to you, make yourself accountable by telling friends and family about your progress. Let them know you need them to motivate you while you take on your resolution. Ask your brother to call and check on your running progress while you're training for a half marathon. Have your best friend go over your drafted budget and keep your receipts. Ask a neighbor to check on your home improvement progress. Knowing that someone will be asking about your progress -- or lack thereof -- may help you stick with your resolution.

4. Get real.

If you're a couch potato, the chances of beginning and sticking with an intense exercise regimen are slim. Don't expect to achieve extraordinary change within 365 days -- keep your resolution realistic and you'll be less likely to fail. So there's some cynicism for the day.

5. Ditch the generalizations and be specific.

Don't fixate on numerical values ("I need to lose 20 pounds") or generalizations ("get healthy") for your resolutions. Instead, focus your attention on the specific ideas behind those and you'll see big change happen. You may want to lose 20 pounds, but why? Resolve to spend more time being active and less time watching TV instead of just losing 20 pounds. Don't resolve to "get healthy" when you can resolve to eat more fruits and vegetables or start walking after dinner.

Choose your resolution wisely. It's a chance to make big change happen in your life and there's no better time to turn over a new leaf than Dec. 31. Pick one you'll enjoy accomplishing that strays from the norm, is realistic and specific, and allows you to hold yourself accountable to a friend or family member. You'll have a better chance at succeeding, and you'll be that much closer to making positive change in your life.

Good luck!