The new year rolls around and you find yourself preparing oatmeal for breakfast, a big leafy salad for lunch, almonds for a snack and chicken for dinner. You swear you’ll start eating healthily as part of your New Year’s resolution.

A few weeks pass. It’s suddenly the end of winter quarter and you find yourself routinely skipping breakfast, then indulging in a burger, fries and a soda to compensate for the painful hunger at lunchtime. Couple that with a large pizza for dinner and a pint of ice cream in front of the TV and you’ve completely broken your New Year’s resolution.

It’s an all-too-familiar situation.

How do you break this seemingly inevitable cycle?

The best way to make changes and stick to them is through accountability, visualization, organization and realistic expectations. Many students start off on the right track, but their willpower starts to dwindle as the year progresses because their resolutions lack these attributes.

If Cal Poly teaches its students anything, it’s the power of a group project. A resolution, just like any other challenge, should not be faced alone. English senior Valentina Sainato came to this realization after she had trouble carrying out her previous resolution of cutting down on spending. In hindsight, she has pinpointed how she and others can be more successful come 2017.

“It’s important to have a third party involved,” Sainato said. “To have something that holds me accountable like an app or a journal, or find[ing] someone else with the same resolution.”

A roommate could become a workout buddy if the resolution is one of the most common ones reported — to be more healthy. However, before anyone hits the weight room, the wording of this resolution needs to be modified. It is too difficult to commit to such a general resolution. One must hone in on specific goals to achieve results, such as “eat smaller portions,” or “involve more cardio in my week.”

Business administration freshman Adrian Vera Raya saw the positive results of such changes in his workout-related resolutions from years past.

“Just having workout clothes out in my dorm so I can see them as an everyday reminder and as an inspiration to go to the gym [was helpful],” Vera Raya said.

Visualizing goals is also key to effectively carrying out a resolution in the realm of healthy living. It helps one clearly see his or her goals as well as serve as a helpful reminder. Visualization and organization go hand-in-hand.

“If I want to see improvement in my grades, I set aside time on my calendar to study,” Vera Raya said. “If you put time in to fulfill your goal, you will achieve success.”

Following these words of advice will ensure a 2017 to be proud of, in which your resolution will be just as strong in December as it was on New Year’s Day.

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