Resolutions, resolutions… They sound like a great way to start the new year, but they are actually an awful way to achieve your goals. If they weren’t, then there would be no reason to do this ritual year after year. But, since we’re human and we like routine, many of us will declare our new-found philosophy with all sincerity at 12:00 am on January 1st. If you find these sample resolutions below to be the ones you most desire for your life in 2012, read on to get tips on how to make your resolution a reality for 2012.

Resolution 1: “I will lose these last 10 or 20 Pounds”

If it takes 21 days to break a habit and 90 days to solidify one, then if you make it to the Valentine’s Day mark, you’re more than half way on your way to making a total lifestyle change. Addiction behavior researchers have studied human habit forming behaviors and have concluded that 90 days is sufficient to help most people make a significant lifestyle change. As time marches on, temptation to resort back to old habits grow but if you can resist for 90 days, it begins to lessen, making you much more likely to sustain change for the long haul.

Since the risk for relapsing into old habits is high during the 90 day period, here are a few tips to help you stay on track and meet your goals.

You’re most likely to relapse…

…in 1-3 months. In fact, most relapses begin once a person sees improvement. People see the changes and believe they can rest a bit easier on their way to their goal and before you know it, they are right back at square one (and much more discouraged about it).

Relapse-proof tactic 1: The sometimes dreaded, but always effective food journal. You know why you should track your eating. You know why it’s helpful to analyze not only what you eat, but the emotions you have while you eat. You know it takes commitment, but if you truly want to change this is perhaps one of the best tools you can give yourself. Keeping a food journal is a great way to see your behaviors and it offers you a concrete way to change certain habits. If you aren’t partial to actual pen and paper, use a notepad app on your smartphone to track your food log.

Relapse-proof tactic 2: Have your cake, and eat it. Just make sure it’s a small piece of cake. Willpower does not work. Before you know it, you will have eaten around your craving and still end up giving into your craving. As a result, you will consume more than you intend to. Have a little of what you’d like. Just be sure to remain consistent with you overall diet and exercise plan. Treat your indulgence as just that; an indulgence, not a reason to take a permanent break from healthy eating.

Relapse-proof tactic 3: Plan ahead. If you are to visit a restaurant for dinner, try looking up their menu online to scan for some healthy options. That’s a great way to know what you’d like before you have a chance to be tempted to order something unhealthy. For family dinners, try bringing a healthy food option with you. Also, if you know you will be itching for some of your mother’s famous mac-n-cheese, have a little but balance your plate with other healthy options. Drinking water or eating an apple before you set about dinner is another way to eat less throughout the day.

Resolution 2: “This is the year I get into better shape”

You’re most likely to relapse…

…in a week to 3 months. Lack of an established routine and trying to take on an entire lifestyle change instead of pacing yourself step-by-step are the major reasons why most don’t keep this resolution all year long.

Relapse-proof tactic 1: Make a schedule and stick with it. It’s proven that when people write down their goals, they are more likely to reach them. That includes exercisers as well. Your routine should be thought of at non-negotiable. When you begin with that mindset, it makes it easier down the road to stick to your plan. Also, be realistic about how much time you have for a workout. A busy schedule one week may mean shorter workouts than in weeks were your schedule is less hectic.

Relapse-proof tactic 2: If you have time to watch a 30 minute program, you have time for a workout. You can throw out the “I don’t have time excuse” once and for all with this change in mindset. Short bursts of intense energy can serve as a great workout in lieu of the gym. If you know you can’t make your regularly scheduled workout, find ways to put more movement into your day. Whether it’s taking the stairs or choosing to walk over driving more movement can make up for a lost workout.

Relapse-proof tactic 3: Don’t go the “no pain, no gain” route for every workouts. A great way to determine that you’re working hard enough is to measure how much of a conversation you can carry while working out. If you can’t utter a simple sentence while working out, you’re exerting too much energy. However, if you can sing the National Anthem while working out, you’re not putting enough energy into your fitness routine. Find a balance. Don’t allow yourself to workout so intensely that you’re exhausted to do any other task during the day.

Resolution 3: “This will be the year I stop smoking”

You’re most likely to relapse…

…in a week to a month. 70 percent of smokers would to stop, but less than 10 percent of them are able to quit once and for all. Blame the addicts mentality, but if you think as a smoker, then you’ll continue to be a smoker.

Relapse-proof tactic 1: Kill temptation. You’re on your way to quitting or you’ve recently quit smoking. First, congratulations! Second, think as someone who isn’t a smoker. Throw away all lighters, ashtrays, or spare packs of cigarettes. Don’t allow any reminders to your former life as a smoker. If you live with a smoker, request that they take their habit outside.

Relapse-proof tactic 2: Avoid temptation. While it may not be as serious as alcoholics avoiding a bar, smokers should still avoid places where the urge to light up is strong. While this change may not have to be permanent, it’s best to help you over the 90 day mark.

Relapse-proof tactic 3: Find a substitute for smoking. This doesn’t mean start dipping instead of smoking. It means find something you can occupy your time with in order to refrain from smoking. Of course, exercise is a great stress reliever and can help you along the way. If you always enjoyed a cigarette with your morning cup’o joe, then switch to tea in the mornings. Save the money you used to buy cigarettes with and see how much you’re saving in the long run. All of these tips can help you continue with your goal of becoming smoke free in 2012.

Resolution 4: I will develop “The glass is half full” positive outlook

You’re most likely to relapse…

…the next day. Ouch. Look at it this way: you didn’t develop a negative Nancy attitude overnight and it will certainly take you a bit longer than a day to correct it. If you find that you’re not just a bit down but truly depressed, seek medical attention. Otherwise, having a daily plan that addresses small issues will do the trick.

Relapse-proof tactic 1: Eliminate the daily playback. Over-analyzing every failure or set-back is the best way to keep yourself stuck on negative thinking. The longer you think about something negative, the more you will upset yourself. Try focusing your thought to more positive things. Take a walk and notice the colors, sights and atmosphere around you. Limit the amount of time you spend thinking of the unknown as well. Also, don’t attribute everything happening around you to you. You only have control of so much and the realization of that is key to breaking the habit of negative thinking.

Relapse-proof tactic 2: Find a hobby you love. Action is the cure for being stuck in a rut, both mentally and physically. Do something, literally, to break the bad thinking habit.

Relapse-proof tactic 3: Get moving! Sweating helps boost your mood by increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine, the brain’s “happy” chemicals. A short exercise routine can give you a mood boost for 60 minutes or so. If you can’t think of ways to get moving, visit the Bootique Fitness video library to find some inspiration to get moving.

You can make changes this year and you can achieve any goal that you set your mind to. However, simply stating the goal is not enough to make it happen. You need a plan of action. Use these tips to stick to your plan without faltering. Make 2012 absolutely amazing!