Resolutions are coming.

Many of you reading this are rolling your eyes, ready to turn the page. Stick with it! There’s an important lesson everyone ought to consider: A resolution by nature sets you up to fail — and there are many ways around this.

Social expectations: Most of the time a resolution is based on what a person thinks they’re expected to do, not what they want to do. Anyone ever vowed to give up carbs then realized they actually really love bananas? This makes for a resentment of the resolution, and the bottom quickly falls out.

Making things too hard: A person who has never hiked before wouldn’t look at the tallest peaks and set off for glory (and make it back to tell about it) — but people are always doing this with New Year’s resolutions. Making a plan to lose 50 pounds with little to no experience in proper nutrition, habits, and practices is equivalent to taking on a trek that’s way beyond your capabilities — yet this is the most common way to approach a resolution.

Not doing the homework: What does it take to lose weight? Do you actually know the components of nutritional eating? Or did you find something on the web that said sugar is bad? Do you know portion sizes, nutrients, and amounts you need? Are there ways to help (like eating more protein at breakfast) that are guaranteed to give better results? Study the basics, master the practices, and make a plan. Otherwise, your resolution won’t be effective and giving up is imminent.

Last point to consider: January 1 rolls around, now all of the sudden a person who indulged all winter is somehow changed? The calendar changed, but the persona has not. Changes actually take work. Start to ask why. Why do you stand in front of the fridge with a piece of cheese and deli meat? Why do you enjoy cupcakes with the grandkids? Why should you try to force yourself into giving it up? Do you want to give it up? Are you ready to? Deeper thinking will often show that there are some very revealing truths that need to be addressed before going on a kale and lemon juice cleanse.

The time to start is now. Ask the questions, do the homework, make a sensible educated goal, plan accordingly. Start with the habits and practices now, fail and succeed; it’s part of the process. Move forward with each step.