Slipping up on a promise to change doesn't have to mean giving up. Here are tips from counselors on getting your mind-set back into the right place:
Don't beat yourself up. Making big changes in your life is "really hard," says Sharon Silverberg, Ph.D., a licensed professional counselor with Rising Tide Therapy in Virginia Beach. "Many times you are going against what you've always done. It's OK to make mistakes."
Eliminate the word "only." Did you vow to walk five days a week but "only" did three, or "only" lose a half-pound a week instead of two? Instead of focusing on the negative, celebrate the accomplishment: several days of walking and weight lost. Never minimize progress, however small.
Break down a resolution. If your goal suddenly feels overwhelming, then set smaller targets. Want to stop eating fast food? Reduce your weekly trips by one day at a time -- not all at once.
Get support. Admit to family and friends that you're struggling with your resolution and ask for help. Also look into online support groups.
Think about why you slipped. Maybe you went into a bar where you always smoked, ate with a friend who pressures you into ordering dessert or aren't getting enough sleep. Find your "red flags" and work to avoid them.
Focus on one resolution. While many people set multiple goals, it's easier to direct your energy toward one that's very important to you.
Talk to yourself each morning. Remember why you set a goal and think about what specifically you can do that day to help meet it.
Don't expect perfection. Aim to be "good enough" -- and understand that willpower builds over time.