For many of us, the new year offers a symbolic fresh start. We have the opportunity to release the bad habits and attitudes of yesteryear, and commit ourselves to better health and wellness. We might resolve to exercise more, eat less junk food, quit smoking, or read a book a month. Whatever the resolution, it’s important to set tangible and truly healthy goals. Below, we offer a few tips to help you achieve lasting lifestyle changes in the year to come.

How to set and achieve healthy resolutions:

Be specific. You’ve resolved to exercise more. Now what? Translate this resolution into a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (SMART). For example, the CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. This can translate to going for a brisk 30 minute walk, 5 days a week. Set yourself up for success by turning big, vague goals into small, achievable tasks.

Start small. It’s true what they say: slow and steady wins the race. Changing habits is hard, and can feel especially overwhelming if you move too fast. Instead, take a baby step toward your goal. Choose something that you can accomplish easily every day, such as saying no to soda. This simple habit change will have more long-term success than an all-intensive crash diet that you can’t sustain.

Be kind to yourself. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and life is throwing us constant curveballs. Now more than ever, we need to show ourselves compassion. Do the best that you can, and know when to cut yourself some slack. Did you slip up and indulge in dessert when you said you wouldn’t? All is not lost. Let go of the guilt and simply restart. You can begin again.

We hope this guidance helps you make your healthy resolutions a reality.

Small, simple changes will eventually lead to lasting accomplishments. You can do it!