From ancient Babylonians making new commitments to their gods to today’s average office worker pledging to give up soda, humans have been struggling with New Year’s resolutions for a very long time.

Yet there is hope, according to a group of Washington State University experts who offer their insights into keeping positive lifestyle changes going in the weeks and months ahead.

One solution is setting SMART goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. By setting clear, quantifiable objectives, individuals looking to make positives changes can start accumulating small victories and maintain perspective of how far they’ve come and set the next milestone to aim for.

“If you’re committed to being healthier, you need to take stock of what that means and define what your goal is from the outset,” said Chris Barry, a professor in the Department of Psychology at WSU.

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