Rather than assuming that keeping a resolution has to be hard work, science shows that the people who actually meet their goals do so by making things as easy for themselves as possible. Try these three simple suggestions:

  1. Avoid temptation. Want to quit smoking or eat fewer donuts? Instead of willpower, avoid temptation. You'll do a lot better if you change your route so you don't go past the Krispy Kreme than if you expect to be able to see that deliciousness every day and never go through the door.
  2. Swap behaviors. In addition to steering clear of challenges to your resolve, you need another strategy: Plan ahead what you'll do when faced with temptation, and work to make these reactions as automatic as possible.
  3. Start small and build momentum. Straining to keep your promises to yourself isn't a sign you're doing well, it's a sign you don't understand how to achieve difficult goals. Instead of sweating and struggling, focus on manageable steps.