We’ve all heard the stats: according to Business Insider, 80% of people abandon their New Year’s resolution by February! I put my hands up, I’ve been one of those, but not this year! This year I have worked out how to stick to them.

Any resolution you make requires a change in routine and you have got to test it out and work out the kinks before you can incorporate it into your everyday life. My New Year’s resolution this year was doing 10 minutes of Headspace every morning and going to the gym three times a week. So how did I make sure I stuck to my resolutions? I started in December.

Starting in December, even a couple of weeks before New Year’s Eve, gives you the freedom to experiment with your resolutions without the expectations and pressure of that first month of the new year.

There are three stages to implementing your resolution:

1. Planning

You need to ask yourself a few questions first: how long will this new activity take me? What time does it fit best in to my day, morning or evening? If in the morning, how much earlier will I have to set my morning alarm? What days of the week work best?

Taking my exercise resolution as an example, doing this activity first thing in the morning works best for my routine as I have a lot of other things going on in the evening. This means I am going to have to get up at least an hour earlier than usual, but I don’t want to lose out on sleep either! This also means going to bed an hour earlier. I also decide it’s a good idea to do some research and come up with a plan of what exercises I want to do in the gym, or see what morning classes were available. Planning done, next step.

2.  Test runs

On the Monday of the second week of December I decide to give this a go. I am so slow and sluggish, and realise almost immediately that choosing my clothes the day before ready to just put them on and go would make the process a lot quicker. Noted for the next trial day. Wednesday, this time the process is much smoother. I am starting to notice though that my appetite is growing too, I’m going to need a bigger breakfast than just some porridge, I’ll start eating a banana after my workout too. Christmas parties and seasonal social events get in the way of an early start at the end of the week, so I pick up on the trial again the following Monday. Little by little I’m piecing this new routine together. Waking up early isn’t so much of a struggle; my body is adapting. Adding the extra 10 minutes of headspace was much easier as it wasn’t such a dramatic change to my morning routine.

3. Execution

The new year has arrived! My 6.00am alarm goes off and I am ready to take on my new year’s resolution of going to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, all kinks resolved.

Trust me, if you can stick to your new year resolutions during the Christmas period, even if just two or three times a week, you are going to find starting on the 2nd (let’s allow some leniency for the cracking hangover we are all expecting on the 1st) a lot easier.

Good luck and happy new year!

Note: Remember you can start your resolutions at any point, if you start in March make February your test run.