01/07/2015 02:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Your New Year's Resolution Will Likely Fail. Here's What Works

If you're a regular at a fitness center, you've noticed it's harder to find an empty elliptical machine or treadmill this week. The gym is crowded but it won't last long. These are all the folks who made a New Year resolution to get healthy and lean by joining a gym.

(photo courtesy Brad Wheelis)

In February the numbers will drop off dramatically. And by March, most of those with hopes of losing weight will be back home watching TV and eating Cheetos.

A University of Scranton study shows nearly half of Americans make New Year's resolutions and less than 10 percent of us are successful.

I'm not a fan of resolutions because much of the time they are not well thought out. Some of us make them on a whim and somehow believe we'll miraculously be successful.

The change in calendar does not give us more will power nor does it give us more determination. Notice throughout the year, we declare we'll start a new diet on a Monday. Rarely do our eating habits change when we start our new week.

If you want to lose weight, stop smoking, curse less, or anything else, here are some tips to accomplish your goal.

  1. Create a vision. A vision is your life in the long term. Think about how you will look, what you will wear, how grocery shopping will be different, how you will be more social, etc. when you lose weight.
  2. Create goals. You do this after you have your vision and this is important. The goals will be something along the lines of; losing a couple of pounds a week, increasing cardio by 30 minutes every two weeks, etc.
  3. Reward yourself for success. Acknowledge the accomplished goal with a little treat. Perhaps enjoy a night out at the movies or a new outfit when you lose a waist size.
  4. Don't beat yourself up when you fail to meet a goal. Pick up from where you left off.

There's an important reason we need a vision and separate goals. Chances are you will miss one of your goals but if you have a vision it will remain intact, which is motivation to continue. You'll solider on toward your next goal.

And perhaps most importantly, the time to start is right now. Don't wait for a new year, a new week, or some special date. Get started right away or you'll procrastinate.