The New Year will be here before you know it, and with it comes resolutions – to get in better shape, to start a running routine, to be more present with friends and family and countless other aspirations.

New Year’s Resolutions can be a great way to start fresh with your goals, but don’t get overly wrapped up in the timing. Instead, focus on what you want to achieve and how to get there all year long. Here are some strategies we’ve found useful for how to make something a habit year-round.

  1. Don’t wait until January. Sure, it’s convenient to think of a new calendar year as a new beginning, but there isn’t actually anything significant about January in relation to your goals. In fact, taking small steps toward your objectives right now will help you get in the right mindset for forming good habits. If you begin today, you’ll already be a step ahead of the new year and ready to keep going in the right direction.
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  3. Make your goals realistic. Nothing will slow your momentum to a screeching halt more than never feeling like you can actually reach the goals you’ve set. Examine your lifestyle, level of commitment and available time before you set your intentions. Don’t be afraid to scale things back a bit to make them easier to achieve. You can always go above and beyond when you can.
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  5. Plan for the whole year – or at least a few months. If you don’t have timelines, you won’t be as motivated to do the work. Create small check-ins for yourself, such as: “I will complete mini-goal 1 by February 28.” This will help you stay on track and is a good start if you’re wondering how to build a habit that will last.
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  7. Expect setbacks. No one is perfect – not even you! There will inevitably be times when you have to skip a workout or when you are unavailable for an important family event, and that’s okay. Accept that these things will happen ahead of time and you’ll be less likely to beat yourself up about them. Tomorrow is a new day and you’ll do better. Remind yourself of the progress you’ve made and don’t let one extra donut break your stride.
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  9. Celebrate your small victories. When you meet a goal, make it a priority to reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything large, and certainly shouldn’t be something that will set back your progress, but congratulate yourself on a job well done because you deserve it. When you acknowledge your successes, no matter how small, you’ll be even more inspired to keep working toward your larger objective.

If you keep these tips in mind while on the road to your goals throughout the new year, you should be well on your way to sticking to your plan and hitting your targets in the months ahead. Also don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way. Take injuries and pain seriously and rest or use pain relief exercises as needed.

Are there other ways you help yourself stay on track with New Year’s Resolutions?