Experts say setting realistic expectations and patience are keys to achieving New Year’s resolutions, including losing weight and becoming more fit. (Courtesy photo)

It’s no secret that now that the new year has arrived, many of us are resolving to quit smoking, lose weight and lead healthier lives as part of the annual tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.

Unfortunately for many, disappointment often takes place for one simple and avoidable reason: setting unrealistic goals that are difficult to attain and will cause us to give up on our goals for a healthier 2024.

According to, a 2016 study showed out of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, by the end of the year, only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them. And year after year, being healthier is consistently the most popular New Year’s resolution across the globe, whether that’s eating healthier, exercising more, or losing weight.

Related Stories: also reported the following. In 2023, its survey found:

  • 87% were confident that they would stick to their resolutions, but by February, only 22% had stuck to them entirely, while 54% had “mostly” stuck to them.
  • The most popular resolutions for 2023 were tied between improving physical heath (20%) and saving more money (20%). Following were exercising more (19%), eating healthier (18%), being happy (17%), and losing weight (17%).

If you want to achieve good results and successfully achieve your New Year’s resolutions in 2024,  Dr. Ashley Zucker, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, notes the desire to be our best is the first step to real, positive change.

Dr. Zucker offers the following advice to help you make your New Year’s resolution come true:

  • Plan ahead and be consistent.Instead of vowing to “exercise every day,” strive to be more specific. For example, it’s important to set realistic goals such as: “I will exercise for 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.” To increase the likelihood of success, when setting such a goal for yourself, make sure you have the necessary equipment available, and the time set aside in advance to exercise.
  • Keep it simple.Although tempting, don’t set several goals at once for yourself. For instance, especially following some holiday excess, you might want to give up alcohol, change your eating habits, and exercise five times a week. That sounds good, but many people often become discouraged and quit if they miss their mark. To be more successful, try setting one or two small achievable goals for yourself, as that is more likely to lead you to success.
  • It’s OK to re-evaluate the goals you set.Ask yourself, “Was my goal too aggressive for me? Was it something I truly wanted to do? It’s always best to take baby steps and not set unreasonable expectations that often leads to disappointment.
  • Be kind to yourself. If you don’t quite make it as planned, don’t give up. You are worth a second, third and fourth try. As the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!

“Everything is possible if we commit to it and set realistic expectations,” Dr. Zucker noted. “Setting unrealistic goals and expecting miracles too soon and too fast is a recipe for failure. Be patient, have a long-term plan, stay committed and you’re more likely to achieve your New Year’s resolution and lead a healthier life in the new year. The secret is perseverance, even if you fall off track.”