It's second quarter of the year. Are you sticking to your resolutions? Do you even remember them? I've had an action-packed year personally and professionally already, including launching my new book Bring Your Worth. I need to get back into the healthier habits I had on New Year's.

The worst thing to do, though, is to go twice as hard, according to Atomic Habits author James Clear. The best-selling researcher on habits says you should take a different approach to get back on the wagon.

Let the past go

First, don't go twice (or three times!) as hard. If you want to eat a salad a day and missed a bunch of days, then don't suddenly go to having salad two times a day.  It's like not having the discipline to walk, but expecting to run a marathon.

"We have to understand the interplay between intensity and consistency. You can't go to the gym for 9 hours and get into shape. It doesn't work. But if you work out every day for 20 minutes, you will absolutely get into shape. The problem is, I don't know when."

In short, cold turkey is for suckers. Incremental growth is key. That means being patient with yourself.

In my opinion, we double or triple down on things out of guilt: We feel bad that we "failed" earlier, so we try to compensate for the past. Moving out of guilt, though, isn't sustainable. It's better to move out of discipline rather than rationalization of our past.

Just don't miss too many beats

According to Clear's research, missing a habit once is fine - as long as you pick it up at the same rhythm the next time. If I miss a day of meditation, then the best solution is to do it the next day. That's it. Ridiculously simple.

From my standpoint, this method also requires that we forgive ourselves for past transgressions. Your habits cannot be built on sorrows of missed opportunities, since the present is the only thing we control.

It's not too late to make your resolutions work. You just need to start today.

Published on: Apr 9, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.