12/20/2013 03:01 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2014

Drink Less, Eat Better: Making Resolutions That Actually Stick

Many Americans make resolutions every year, and yet 88 percent of them fail, because most resolutions are too big, too broad or too vague to commit to.

We all want a six-pack and a six-figure salary, but resolving to do so won't necessarily result in a bathing suit body or a bigger bank account.

Here's how to make your resolutions smarter, so you can live better:

1. Less is more.
Our brains have limited willpower, so a whole host of improvements will deplete your can-do attitude pretty quickly. You're more likely to stick to just one or two solid resolutions.

2. Think small and specific.
Easy and quantifiable commitments like daily flossing, eating an extra green vegetable or doing 10 push-ups is realistic and likely to lead to better habits. On the flip side, resolutions like "eating healthier" or "drinking less" won't stick for long.

3. Friends have benefits.
If you resolute with a friend, you're more likely to stay the course. Peer pressure works for a reason.

4. Limit distractions.
It's easy to get distracted in our personal and professional lives, but distraction and procrastination deplete your willpower as well. Designate personal no-phone or social-media-ban times, whether at dinner or bedtime. Some contemplative time will allow you to take stock of progress and dedicate your time to new goals.

5. Don't wait for the ball to drop.
New Year's is a point we all rely on to reflect on a year's worth of behavior, but there's no time like the present to embrace change. No matter the time of year, personal dissatisfaction should always lead to action.