Perhaps you have determined to make a fresh start this new year. You’ve thought it through. There are a few things on your TO DO list you would like to check off. So, like millions, you make resolutions.

The top resolution for most of us involves fitness–lose those 10 unwanted pounds, get to the gym every day, stop smoking and eat better.

Well, if you want to up your chances of success, move to Florida. Geography matters in terms of follow through. Floridians do better than New Yorkers or Californians. But that is hardly a solution for most of us!

The most important factor to consider in making change is do you really want to change or are you just doing it based on guilt or someone else’s suggestion? If you have weighed the pros and cons, started making preparations and are ready to take action, you might become one of the 8% that actually follows through on New Year’s resolutions.

Also, consider these tips to help make change stick:

Aim low, not high.

This is especially true regarding weight loss. Don’t start the year with lofty goals like losing 50 pounds. Rather, begin with a small goal of 5, then 10 pounds. It’s psychologically easier to attain and you won’t feel like a failure if it takes time.

Start early.

Did you know that it is better to start changes in August, not January? In August, we are geared up and ready to go (maybe because it feels like the start of a new school year). January is actually the worse month for follow-through! So, know from the beginning that you are going to have to keep up your motivation and not give in to feelings of wanting to hibernate and coast through the winter season.

Stay the course.

If you can go 90 days, you have a better chance of making a change. Think about the gym–most people who crowd the machines in January are gone by March. They haven’t made exercise a habit. From the beginning, make this a commitment in your head, something you have to do regularly to make it stick. Your thoughts will influence your actions. ‘I need to go three times a week to the gym’ is better than, ‘It’s OK if I miss a few times. I have all winter to get into shape.’

Tell someone who will keep you accountable.

Like studying, if I know the teacher will quiz me, I study better. So, find a friend or loved one and make that person your accountability partner. Social support is critical to change. Also, your odds of success go way up of there is a financial incentive attached.

New Year’s Resolutions are a good idea only if you are truly committed to a particular change, juggle your schedule to make changes, stay the course, have realistic goals and are accountable to others. Otherwise, you join the 92% of Americans who have good intentions, but don’t follow through! And that doesn’t feel like a Happy New Year!

Setting goals you actually keep