New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap—for good reason. One survey found that 80% of them are doomed to fail. It would seem that it's not so much a matter of if we’ll fall off the resolution bandwagon but when. And while there isn’t consensus on a concrete date, most research indicates that we tend to throw in the towel by early to mid-February.

So what makes sticking to our resolutions so hard? On one hand, we aren’t great at setting ourselves up for success. We often come up with goals that are seriously out of reach: “I’m finally going to run that half-marathon this year,” you might think to yourself, only to find out it’s only three months away. And that training plan? Let’s not talk about that.

On the other hand is an obvious, but often overlooked, truth: A resolution isn’t a magic bullet to finally lose that weight, or begin that meditation practice, or organize those piles of papers, once and for all. When we set a resolution, we’re actually embarking on the long and hard journey that is forging a new habit.