WATCH: Don't give up yet on your New Year's resolutions!

If you're having a rough January, it's not too late to start again

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published January 14, 2017 1:00AM (EST)

          (<a href=''>Africa Studio</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>/Salon)
(Africa Studio via Shutterstock/Salon)

We are barely into January, but for those of us who feel we have already broken all of our New Year's resolutions, don't despair. Instead, let's just hit reset with a few new — and more realistic — ones worth sticking with.

Dr. Jeffrey Gardere suggests the first step to a better 2017 is to resolve right now to be nicer to ourselves. Resolutions don't automatically have to be an opportunity for self criticism for past shortcomings. We can flip the script and see a new year as a chance to explore how to simply improve our lives, by leaning in to what feels good.

Any successful set of resolutions, Gardere suggests, depends on a realistic action plan. It begins with being specific. Instead of vaguely resolving to be kinder, for example, we can first define what kindness means to us, and then create a list of tangible actions to take —  ones that fit in with our lives and schedules. Instead of feeling bad about not having a magazine cover beach body, we can do some homework on taking smaller steps to eat healthier and get more physical activity.

Gardere says, "It really is about doing that research, setting a plan, and being able to execute that plan — but doing it in a way that's workable." Going forward, he adds, "We have to have a new resolve, a new strength, a new happiness, a new excitement about… achieving new things that bring us happiness inside but throughout our society." And when we are human and inevitably slip up, we can remember that we don't have to wait until December to resolve to practice kindness on ourselves, and just start over.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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2017 Dr. Jeffrey Gardere New Year's Resolutions Original Video Video