New Year’s Resolutions are very strange beasts these days. What originally began as an extension of the “settling old debts” goal, has morphed into this guilt-ridden attempt for everyone to lose weight and better their lives. Unfortunately, most of us spend more time setting these goals than actually following them. According to most sources, the most common resolution is to eat healthy and exercise regularly, but Americans are still gaining weight at an increasing rate each year. Forbes gives us an insight as to why we’re not following through with these resolutions, and what we can do to change our habits. If you’re following the below cycle, you might want to follow these tips instead.

January 1 – For those of you who actually began on January 1st, despite hangovers and exhaustion, I salute you! You probably had one of the most successful days of your entire 2013. You may say it’s willpower that kept you away from the junk food and chocolate all day, but we know better. We know you were praying to the porcelain God all day, and that’s okay. For the rest of you, hey, you were hungover, the fact that you got out of bed at all is impressive.

Week 1 – “Oh my gosh going to the gym is awesome. It’s so crowded though, how does anyone ever do this for 365 days? Well, that’s okay, I’m here, and I’m lifting 2.5 pound weights, and I’m AWESOME.”

Yeah, that’s what you did with your first week, right? You were on track with your resolutions, whether it was Pilates or more sleep, or less alcohol or what. You did it! Go you!

Week 2 – “Man, I just spent so many days following my goals it’s okay if I take a second or third day off this week, right? I’m so exhausted from all this effort. I’ll have ice cream for breakfast! But just this once.“

You can replace the ice cream portion with any deviation from your original resolution, but you get the gist. At this point, you’re proud of your efforts, and you feel like you deserve some sort of reward.

Week 3 – “I hate this lifestyle! I mean, who has time to prepare their own meals every day? Who has the willpower to say no to wine 5 nights a week? And who seriously has the energy to make it to the gym 5 days a week? No, my resolutions were way too ambitious. This current plan isn’t even healthy. I’m modifying my original resolutions to make them a little safer and a little more doable. That’s okay, right? I made it like 15 days this way!”

By week three, you’re probably quite a bit jaded from your “ambitious” goals, and you’re exhausted by the new routine. You’re ready to kick that schedule to the curb and loosen up the reigns.

Week 4 – “Actually, I think my original plan was pretty good. Okay, well it’s the end of the month; I’m going to be SO STRICT these last seven days. I have to make up for last week anyway, so that’s my motivation. It will be easy!”

The fourth week is your chance to make a last-ditch effort to salvage your January. You’re heading back to the gym or the salad bar or the laundry room to tackle your laziness with a dose of productivity. This is pretty common. You see the light at the end of the tunnel, so you plow on through without your wine, chocolate, or free time and count yourself successful.

January 31 – “Well, I made it this far, I might as well treat myself to a full day of indulgence. I’ll begin my resolutions again on February 1st!”

Unfortunately, that is the standard cycle of January for most resolution lovers. You try and try and try and then life gets in the way, willpower breaks, and you’re back to square one. It’s time to break the cycle and make lifestyle changes you can keep! Tomorrow’s a new day, after all. In fact, tomorrow is February 1st, so what’s your new resolution going to be?