10 tricks to make your resolutions stick

EASE INTO IT: Give yourself mini challenges each day or week, rather than aiming for unrealistic targets.
EASE INTO IT: Give yourself mini challenges each day or week, rather than aiming for unrealistic targets.

If you've fallen victim to unachievable New Year resolutions in the past, don't let this year be the same.

The biggest reason for failed resolutions is that people set their goals too high.

The key is to keep things simple and gradually work towards a healthier you.

Make these little changes to see big results and you'll be proud of your achievements at the end of the year.

1. Stress less

It's easy to say "I'm not going to stress this year", but when life throws you lemons, it's almost unavoidable. Instead, think about ways you can manage stress. Make a list of things that work for you and refer to it when you feel stress rising. Consider meditation, yoga, cooking, walking or having a bath to help ease your woes.

2. Move more

If your resolution is to hit the gym every day, step it back a notch. Give yourself challenges to move more in the day. Instead of catching the bus or driving to work, walk. Take the stairs instead of the lift or set yourself goals to get and up move more frequently at work. It's these little changes that will make a big difference.

3. Achievable weight loss

Don't set your weight loss goals too high. Telling yourself you're going to lose five, 10 or 20 kilos this year can be daunting! Instead of setting yourself such a huge goal, think about what you want to achieve each month. Whether it's loosing a kilo or cutting out sugar for 30 days, these small changes will help you see results faster.

4. Track your diet

If you're serious about cutting back on calories, don't just assume what you're eating is right. Use a journal to track what you eat and set yourself particular goals of what you want to eat or don't want to eat for the week. You can also use a app like Myfitnesspal to help you determine the exact amount of calories that are in the foods you are eating.

5. Tone and strengthen

If you've decided that you're going to be toned by the end of the year, have you thought about how you're going to achieve this? Cardio is great, but strength training is essential not just for toning but for posture and stronger muscles. Slot in two sessions a week for strength training. This can be a yoga or Pilates class, using weights at the gym or doing workouts on an exercise ball at home.

6. Quit smoking

If quitting smoking is on your list this year, going cold turkey isn't always the most effective method. While it doesn't hurt to give up smoking suddenly, people often get disappointed if they return to their habit. You can use nicotine replacement products like patches, gum and medication to help you kick the habit or you can check out the Quitline for a method and a goal that is attainable for you.

7. No more late night snacking

If you're a serial offender of late-night snacking and would like it to stop, there's simple changes you can make to make this resolution attainable. Chances are you're not eating enough at meal times, so in order to keep the munchies at bay plan out your meals so you can determine whether you're getting enough. Another handy tip is to keep healthy snacks at reach in the fridge and pantry for those times when snacking is simply unavoidable.

8. Treat yourself

Saying you're going to cut out chocolate is a BIG call, trust. Instead, think of ways you can still treat yourself after all your hard work. Allow yourself to have a piece of dark chocolate after dinner, or try dipping fresh fruit in melted dark chocolate and keeping them in the fridge for a not-so-guilty pleasure.

9. Get more sleep

If getting sleep is number one on you list of priorities this year, the answer isn't just going to bed early. There's many factors that can cause a disruptive sleep. So in order to get a good night's rest consider the following:

- Don't eat after 8.30pm and definitely don't drink coffee

- Don't watch TV or browse the Internet straight before bed

- Don't go to bed angry, talk out your problems

    10. Eat healthier

    Did you spend most week nights of 2013 eating out? If so, "eating healthier" is most likely a resolution for the year. While it's all well and good to say you're going to eat better, you need to have a action plan in place. Tell yourself you're going to cook at home four days a week and find recipes that include fresh, seasonal produce that you can experiment with. Setting yourself days to cook will help you be more successful in eating healthy.