Happy New Year! As 2019 begins, it is time to contemplate what might be in store for the next 12 months. For many people, that means making resolutions about how to improve themselves. All together now: new year, new you!

According to a YouGov poll for 2018, last year’s most common resolution was to “eat healthier”. Next was “exercise more”, then “save money”, followed by “self-care (e.g., get more sleep)”. The fifth most common resolution was to “read more”.

But although around half of adults make new year’s resolutions, only about 10% manage to stick to them. Often this is because they are unrealistic or too vague to act on.

Luckily, psychologists are learning more and more about how we can change our own behaviour. Here are some of the best tips for keeping your resolutions:

1/ Be realistic about what you can achieve.

2/ Break them down into short-term, manageable steps.

3/ Share your resolutions with other people who can help encourage you.

4/ Habits form through repetition, so find ways to make the new behaviour part of your daily routine.

5/ Slipping up is not the same as giving up. Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t worry if you experience setbacks — forgive yourself and keep going.

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  1. Write down three things that you want to do in 2019. Then, bearing in mind the advice above, think about how you can achieve them. Remember: realistic, short-term, daily goals are more useful than grand but vague ambitions. Share your resolutions with a partner — and try to remember to check in on each other over the next few weeks!
  2. What resolutions should the world make in 2019? As a class, choose a list of 10 things that you want humanity to do differently this year.
  3. What do you think will happen this year around the world? Make five predictions for 2019, and keep them in an envelope. Check back in December to see if you were right.