How to keep your New Year's resolutions 

Psychology lecturer Dr Rachael Molitor shares her top tips in keeping News Year's resolutions to ITV News Central

Many people will have made New Year's resolutions in January. Now we're halfway through the month, how many people are likely to have stuck to their goals? Psychology expert Dr Rachael Molitor from Coventry University speaks to ITV Central about New Year's resolutions and the best ways to achieve your goals.

How do I keep my New Year's resolution?

You should prepare mentally and physically before setting goals or actions for the new year.

Dr Molitor said: "First of all, we look to set foundations.

"So, before you start with a resolution, goal or action it's really important you set the foundation of what you actually want to achieve."

Dr Molitor also explains the benefits to preparing for a goal psychologically and mentally sets the resolution for success.

She said that by setting important, realistic and achievable goals will help to keep your resolution.

"Making small and specific changes within your every day life" will also help you to keep your New Year's resolution, Dr Molitor says.

Dr Molitor recommends saying you are going smoke-free instead of giving up smoking Credit: PA

Make plans to keep your New Year's resolution

By understanding the challenges to goals you can learn how to overcome these potential risks.

"Forming a practical and realistic strategy to make your behaviour change possible.

"Research shows that setting goals increases the success of achieving in both short and long term."

Dr Molitor advises people to set SMART goals - goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based.

She said: "So, instead of 'I'm going to get fitter', try at least three times a week, I'm going to set my alarm 30 minutes early and get up to do a fitness video."

"Many resolutions may start too large such as 'I'm going to do a fitness video every day' and if something gets in your way that prevents you from doing it for one single day you may feel like a failure and less likely to continue onwards."

Many people have decided to take up yoga in the New Year to have a clearer mind Credit: ITV News Central

Have a positive outlook

Maintaining a positive mindset when setting and maintaining goals this can help you to achieve them and stay on track.

Dr Molitor said: "Instead of 'I'm going to stop smoking' try 'I'm going to be smoke free'."

She adds: "We all have slip ups in our habit formation but by looking at positive mindsets helps to continue on the behaviour even if we have small setbacks."

"If we make a positive resolution, for example, many of my friends have gone smoke free as we call it.

"So, instead of stopping smoking that is a negative resolution in the sense of I'm going to stop doing something and then if you do have a cigarette you go oh my goodness that's it I have ruined it completely.

"Whereas, if you are going smoke free, you may have a step back and you may have a cigarette or something but you are still trying with that goal. So, it's about having positive resolutions and keeping them manageable and achievable.

Dr Molitor adds: "Write down one positive thing that you have achieved and you can look back and see how much you have done."

Put your resolution into practise

Rewarding yourself with small changes makes a huge difference and it will help you more likely to achieve what you set out to do.

For instance, if you want to watch TV instead of going to the gym you could put the programme on to record and then you could watch it afterwards as a reward, Dr Molitor explains.

Moving forward - even if you find hurdles

Life is a bit like the game Snakes and Ladders, Dr Molitor says.

She explains: "There are times where we feel amazing and we're climbing the ladder of success with our actions and behaviours.

"There are also times where we're sliding the down the snake and things are all going a bit wrong.

"With this, it's always important to look forwards. Yes, there may be times where we take four steps forward and one step back, but all-in-all we are still three steps further forwards than when we started."

If you break your goals up into small steps that are easy to manage that will help you to conquer them.

Turn your goal into a habit

Research shows that it takes 21 days to create a habit and it can take 66 days before anyone can do it automatically without thinking and 90 days for it to be ingrained within your lifestyle, Dr Molitor explains.

She says: "We know it takes three weeks to form a habit.

"Remember this when you find it hard after the first weekend or when someone tells you how long you have left."

"Resolutions are not just for Christmas, they are long term and automatic within your life. This is why it's so important to choose a resolution that's achievable, manageable and beneficial for you to continue on long-term.

"Once this new habit is formed, it's important to continue to practise these behaviours and keep a focus on the benefits of that change."

"Think about how fitter you have become from doing that exercise, how much clearer your mind is from doing yoga or how much healthier you are from going smoke-free - seeing those practical changes in yourself will help sustain that healthy change."