If you’re gearing up for a new year — and a “new you” — in 2017, you’re in good company. Even top health experts admit they want to take better care of their bodies and minds. Wondering how they stay on track? You’re in luck. We asked nine experts, from doctors to dietitians, how they stay motivated to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Here are their top tips. 

1. Get your priorities straight.

Every year, I set a few goals, but I use a tier-like system. At the top are goals I absolutely have to complete (this year, it’s being more mindful). Next are those I want to complete, and finally, I set a stretch goal that would be nice to complete by the end of the year (like completing a century ride or marathon). Often, I choose goals based on the previous year and how I can make my life easier or more enjoyable the next year. I recommend taking the time to write down what you want and why. (For example, being mindful helps me re-center and remember what counts in my busy life.) Keep that list somewhere visible, read or look at it daily, and remember the reason you’re taking this journey.

— Brunilda Nazario, MD, associate medical director at WebMD

2. Go easy on yourself.

I view all new habits as an experiment rather than a judgment on my worthiness or skills. Meaning, I don’t beat myself up if something doesn’t stick the first time I try it. Instead, I ask myself: What worked? What didn’t work? And what could I do differently next time to achieve better results? I do this until I have a clear understanding of what stops me from doing something and what keeps me doing it, then I make sure those conditions are met. If I can make it so an action is easy and rewarding enough to do regularly, then I win.

— Darya Rose, PhD, author of Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting

3. Take small steps.


shareOrder: [‘facebook’,’twitter’,’pinterest’,’email’],
baseHtmlTmpl: ”,
shareTitle: videoTitle,
shareDesc: videoDescription,
shareImg: ‘http://img.webmd.com/dtmcms/live/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/10_minute_yoga_video/650x350_10_minute_yoga_video.jpg’,
shareLink: shareLink


Scheduling small steps toward goals is a key to success. For example, I have set the goal of having dessert only 2 times per week (down from 4 times!) and going to yoga twice per week. For yoga, I will look at my calendar at the beginning of the week and see where I can fit it in. Even though sometimes this is challenging as a working mom, I will try my hardest to get it done. The hope is that after several weeks, it will become a good habit.

— Hansa Bhargava, MD, medical editor and expert pediatrician at WebMD