When it comes to keeping New Year's resolutions the first 30 days are key. Researchers have found that people who follow through on their resolutions for 30 days are three times more likely to succeed in keeping them long term.

Getting to that point, however, can be a big challenge. Overall, nearly half of all people who make a resolution quit at some point. More than a third drop their resolution at some point during the first 30 days.

To help people get through the first 30 days after making their resolutions, Rory Vaden, author of the New York Times bestseller "Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success" (Perigee, January 2013) offers the following tips.

  • Pick one resolution or pick none – Research shows that we are not good at multitasking, Vaden said. “If you have more than one resolution, you're more likely to fail – so pick one resolution or don't bother at all.”
  • Put a price tag on your failure – “My friend promised his business partner more than a thousand dollars if he didn't achieve his personal resolution,” Vaden said. “Do you think he stuck to it? You bet.”
  • Measure your efforts, not your results – “To stay motivated, you must be relentless about making progress, while letting go of the demand for perfection. Focus on stellar efforts – not results,” he said.
  • Set a weekly alarm on your calendar – “Once a week, evaluate the progress of your efforts (not results). If your resolution is to lose 20 pounds, don't step on the scale,” Vaden said. “Instead, measure how well you stuck to your food guidelines or exercise goals during the past week.”
  • Find a friend – Make sure you have an accountability partner, because while you are likely to lose your motivation at some point, it is much less likely that both you and your partner will feel unmotivated at the same time.
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