As February begins, New Year’s Resolutions begin to be a distant memory, gym memberships might have been canceled, and Dry January might have been too hard for many.

But what can we learn from these attempts at improving our lives? Why do we do them each year and how do we actually make them stick?

New Year is the obvious time to make a change in your life – we mark the passing of time each year, giving us a sense of structure and new beginnings. It’s a time to reflect on the year gone by, and to set out goals we want to achieve in the next twelve months.

Lots of people choose to mark this with resolutions – a long list of goals to achieve in this time, but is the pressure simply too much?

Trying to change too many things at one time is definitely part of the problem – most of us work on strict routines in our day-to-day lives, so breaking from this means it can take time for a new habit to sink in – on average, researchers say this takes two months! Trying one new thing at a time is the best way to do this.

There is also research that suggests accountability is a key element in making these resolutions stick – how do you make sure you complete these resolutions?

Let’s take tackling alcohol for example. A great way to reduce your risk of Alcohol-Related Brain Damage is to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume on a weekly basis (preferably under the 14 units per week recommended by the NHS). A great way to do this is to find someone that wants to achieve the same goal, pair up with them, and work towards your goal together. Take up a new hobby together, go for walks, and find activities to do that don’t involve an alcoholic drink. The hope here is that if one person is starting to give up, or submit to the temptation, the other person can keep them in check!

Many of the goals we set at the start of the year are great goals, ones that will improve our quality of life not only now, but many years down the line as well, with good health. So forget your failed attempts at New Year’s Resolutions. Make some February resolutions or Monday resolutions. Just because you didn’t do it in January, it doesn’t mean you have to wait twelve months to try again.