Alex Aster is the managing editor of The Newsette, and a children’s book series author. As part of our “Ask Alex” series, she tackles some of our readers’ most pressing questions, in an effort to bring a new perspective to the table. Today, Alex answers a question about the new year.

Dear Alex: It’s 2019! I, like everyone else, have made some resolutions I really want to stick to. But, being real, I know I’ll likely end up following them for maybe two weeks before giving up. How do I stay the course?

AA: New Year’s resolutions are kind of like diets–you have all of these big dreams of yourself on a beach in a tiny bikini, then end up nose-deep in a tub of Ben and Jerry’s later that week. They say healthy habits are really only sustainable if you allow yourself a bit of leniency, and don’t go too far to one extreme. That’s the way I view New Year’s resolutions.

If you put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect at let’s say cutting out sugar, or sticking to your four-day workout plan, if (and when) you stumble off of the course, you might tell yourself things like I knew I couldn’t do this, or I should just give up, I’m not going to stick to it anyway. Instead, enter the new year with high hopes, and realistic expectations. Yes, starting a new workout plan or committing to writing in your gratitude journal every night are great goals, but don’t frame them as things you have to do religiously or else you’ve failed in some way. Instead, focus on why you’ve made these resolutions. Don’t think ugh, I have to go to that workout class because it’s my resolution. Instead say to yourself, I’m going to go to that class because even though it’s hard, I’m committed to relieving stress and feeling strong this year.

Right now, take a moment to put at the top of the next four months in your calendar or planner: “How are the 2019 goals going?” Oftentimes, we stop doing our resolutions because we forget them! Do you even remember what yours were last year? Having little reminders will help you check back in with yourself every so often.

Good luck!

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