It may be only a matter of time before your New Year's resolution fails, but that time could come sooner than you think – like Thursday.
It seems Jan. 17 is D-Day for New Year's resolutions – the day most people give up on good intentions and fall back into old habits.
Strava, a social network for athletes that tracks runs and bike rides, looked at more than 108 million entries in the U.S. and found Thursday is when Americans are most likely to bail out on fitness resolutions.
However, many do stick with it past Jan. 17. In fact, about 40 percent are successful at the six month mark, according to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton.
"Contrary to widespread public opinion, a considerable proportion of New Year resolvers do succeed," Norcross said.
The professor studies behavior change and has authored multiple scholarly articles on New Year's resolutions. His work is often cited as saying only 8 percent of resolutions succeed, a figure he calls "nonsense."
So how do you keep your resolutions past Thursday? Whether swearing off junk food, promising to watch finances or aiming for more time with the kids, here are ways Norcross' research suggests for a successful New Year's resolution:
Set attainable goals
Don't make too many changes at once. Make specific goals that you feel you can achieve and that have concrete results.
Have an action plan and track progress
By monitoring progress, you hold yourself accountable. Using technology, like apps that track weight loss or remind users to get active, can also have positive impacts.
Remember, you're only human
Changing behavior is a learned skill. Don't get down on yourself if you fail to follow through one day. Don't let one failure derail your goals entirely.
"Most successful resolvers slip in January. But a slip need not be a fall," Norcross says.
Get help from others
Let friends and family know what your resolutions are. If you're public about your goal, it's better than keeping it yourself. Having a buddy join you with your resolution helps, too.
Get the junk food out of the house. Join a gym. Place the alarm clock across the room. Make the adjustments necessary to carry out resolutions and foster a better environment. Truly achieving your goal will also probably lead to a larger lifestyle change, too.
Celebrate your victories
Reward yourself proactively when you have accomplished your mission. Don't sabotage yourself, but a healthy treat can help. Celebrate the success with others, especially if they reach their goals, too.
Know it's a marathon, not a sprint
Norcross' research finds that it takes three months for a change to become routine. It won't happen overnight, but it also won't take years.
And be prepared to slip later on. A missed workout in a busy week doesn't have to mean the end of all your fitness goals. Think of the progress you've already made rather than the detriment your slip could cause.
This article originally appeared on Hattiesburg American: Thursday, January 17: The day most New Year's resolutions fail