Have New Year's resolutions? Why doing these 3 things can make them stick

NEW YORK – As you rang in the New Year, you probably made some resolutions, such as dieting, or exercising, or saving more money. But, chances are by now you may have fallen off the resolution bandwagon.

Jan. 17 is unofficially considered "Ditch Your New Year's Resolution Day." To help you stay motivated, WPIX asked Dr. Philip Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, to share some of his tips to keep your goals throughout 2019.

To set yourself up for success, he says your resolutions should be a positive commitment or change, not a negative one.

"It should start with, 'I want to be better in some way than I am, different in some way than I am now that I think will be good for me and good for the world,'" Muskin said.

Once you change your attitude, he says people should do these three things to make your resolutions stick:

Have realistic resolutions

"Look at before you commit to it," Muskin says. ", 'is this something I can do?' And think about it and maybe reshape it, so that you go from a wonderful resolution to a real one."

Have a plan

Plotting and writing out how are you going to achieve your goals helps you reach them. For example, if going to the gym more is one of your resolutions, decide what time of day you will go and commit to making it a routine.

Have interim goals

Muskin advises that people make short-term targets to help them stay motivated throughout the year: "Good planning is having markers for yourself that you're on the right track...It has to be concretized it can't be vague, so you know you got to that goal. Why? that's rewarding."

How to avoid resolution burnout

If you find your resolutions are not sustainable, Muskin says it’s okay to reevaluate what’s important to you. Forgive yourself, and make a different plan to actually achieve your objectives.

And finally, remember that you have the power to make life changes whenever you want to. You don’t need a new year to have a fresh start.

"A resolution can be at your birthday, at an anniversary, at a holiday," Muskin says. "It doesn't have to be a New Year's resolution. Those are not more powerful or more meaningful. A resolution is powerful and meaningful when you make it powerful and meaningful.”