ADA - A new year often begins with good intentions, as thousands resolve to make positive changes in their lives. Resolutions are easy to make when one is toasting at midnight and ready to take on the world. But resolutions can be harder to keep as the days turn into weeks and weeks become months.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that 80 percent of resolution-makers have given up by Valentine's Day. A January 2012 poll conducted in England found that, of the 3,000 respondents, roughly three-quarters of them admitted they were no longer confident they would stick to their resolutionss for the rest of the month.

There are several different reasons why resolutions fail, and recognizing potential pitfalls can help people stick with their positive changes throughout the new year. The following are a few ways to ensure your resolutions last the year.

- Don't make an unrealistic resolution. Losing weight is a popular resolution. Some resolve to drop dozens of pounds in an effort to completely transform their bodies. However, when the weight doesn't magically come off, it can be easy to grow discouraged. Weight loss is not instantaneous, and healthy weight-loss plans advocate gradual weight loss, such as 1 to 2 pounds per week. It can take several months to see a considerable difference if you're aiming to lose 50 pounds. Instead of setting such a lofty weight-loss goal, establish incremental milestones with tangible dates. For example, your resolution may be to lose 10 pounds by March 1st. That is an attainable goal.

- Don't go it alone. You're more likely to have success with keeping a resolution if you have outside support. Enlist a buddy to go to the gym with you or provide support as you attempt to quit smoking. Having a support system in place can motivate and inspire, knowing someone will be keeping tabs on you may instill enough anxiety to propel you through your resolutions.

- Make resolutions for the right reasons. Making resolutions for the wrong reasons can be counterproductive. If you want to lose weight for cosmetic reasons and not to improve your overall health, you may find your motivation waning as the weeks turn into months. Making resolutions for the right reasons often provides ample motivation.

- Avoid boring resolutions. Many people make boring resolutions that often focus on the mundane instead of more positive things. Resolutions need not be changes that profoundly alter your mental or physical well-being. Making fun resolutions will probably help you stick to them. Perhaps you will resolve to spend more time with the kids or promise to try more adventurous activities. Maybe you decide it's time pursue a hidden passion, such as music or art. Enjoyable resolutions are much easier to keep.

- Avoid expensive resolutions. Before making a resolution, research how much a resolution might cost. Gym memberships or new hobbies may stretch your budget, and if you cannot afford a resolution, how can you keep it? If money is a concern, choose resolutions that are fiscally possible.

- Keep resolutions private if you so prefer. Many people are compelled to share their resolutions with friends and family. However, that can lead to feelings of competition or animosity if someone is realizing goals before you. Feel free to keep your resolution private as you go through the process. Once you have met your goal, then you can share your success with others.

- Don't give up too easily. Some people are up for a challenge and others are not. Resolutions typically require a little extra effort, especially in the early stages. Resolutions will not necessarily be easy to keep, but the longer you stick to a resolution the easier it becomes to make it a reality, so resist the temptation to throw in the towel too early.