Statewide Iowa — If you made a New Year’s resolution, you may need to genuinely focus on making the change in order to keep the pledge.

Alison Phillips, a psychology professor at Iowa State University, says our approach to making resolutions usually sets us up for failure.

Phillips, who studies behavior change and habit formation, says to focus on how to make changes that will lead to creating a better version of yourself.

Zero in on things you can become good at and that you see yourself doing and take pride in, she says, as those are the kinds of things people won’t give up on.

If better physical fitness is your target, Phillips says it’s important to aim for specific goals that focus on behavior and not on certain outcomes, like a number on the scale.

Everyone fails, she says, so plan ahead and rehearse how you will cope when you run into barriers. Also, social support is important, so in addition to having a workout buddy, make sure your family is on board, too, and will encourage you as you create new, positive habits.

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