How many New Year's resolutions have you made in your lifetime, and how many of those have you kept?
Whatever your answer, don't be discouraged. If you've achieved any of your resolutions, you are above the curve, and if you haven't accomplished a single one, you are not alone. While Forbes reports that more than 40 percent of Americans make New Year's resolutions, only 8 percent of those that do actually keep them.
If those percentages are any indication, keeping a New Year's resolution is not an easy feat, so we've compiled 15 simple things you can do to keep your resolutions within reach. Click on the gallery below for these expert-approved tips.
10 Easy Ways to Keep your New Year's Resolutions
Friends who go to the gym together, keep their resolutions together! Exercising with a friend not only makes it more fun, but also means that you'll have to justify to someone else why you are skipping your gym date.
According to Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at Hertfordshire University, it is important to pick only one resolution so you can stay on track.
Even if you have a broad goal (think eating healthy, spending more time with family or getting your finances in check), decide on a tangible goal for your resolution. Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist, explains that it is much easier to eliminate fries from your diet for six weeks than it is to commit to losing weight as a general concept.
Writing down your goals and reading them often keeps them front of mind, promises Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in an interview with BankRate.
Many people stop focusing on their goal once they slip up, but it is important to get back on the horse, stay positive and believe in your willpower. If you have a poor eating day or you spend more money on something than you'd planned, don't let that change your path.
According to Reid Hester, director of research at Behavior Therapy Associates, sometimes, it is best to quit a habit cold turkey before allowing it back in your life. One such habit is drinking. Spend a month abstaining from alcohol and afterwards, it'll be easier to drink in moderation.
Telling a friend or family member your goal can increase feelings of accountability and motivation, notes Richard O'Connor, author of Happy at Last: The Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy.
Reward yourself when you meet milestones along the way to your goal. If you're determined to read more, treat yourself after your first five books, or if you want to get in shape, after a month of consistent workouts.
Like killing two birds with one stone? Two popular New Year's resolutions — organizing your home and paying bills on time — are easier kept when you start paying bills online, says Nicole Anzia, owner of Neatnik. You'll be surprised how piles of mail will miraculously disappear.
For nearly every resolution, understand that you'll have to readjust your time to be successful. You may have to give up an hour of couch time to allow yourself time to read, write, go to the gym or plan a family vacation. Factoring this in will help you succeed in keeping your resolutions.