Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Font Size

10 Ways to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Stick

10 ways to stay strong in the face of tempting cupcakes, pricey shoes, and the urge to hit the snooze button instead of the gym.

WebMD Feature from "Good Housekeeping" Magazine

By Sarah MahoneyGood Housekeeping Magazine Logo

There's an inevitable rhythm to January 1 at my house. I take down the tree, vacuum up pine needles, and start making my New Year's resolutions. The list usually looks like this: Lose weight. Swear off TV and saturated fat. Eat salads. Call Dad more. Write that novel. Floss. By midday I'm worn out, intermittently dozing in front of a football game and swiping my husband's million-calorie nachos.

It's not that I totally lack discipline. It's just that I don't sufficiently appreciate what's going on in my brain, explains Joseph Shrand, M.D., an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Self-restraint is a rational desire, which means it lives in the front of the brain, the section that's most recently evolved and most vulnerable to being overruled by survival instincts. Pleasure resides in the brain's most primitive part, which has spent millions of years learning to reward us with a deeply satisfying jolt of dopamine when we give in to these kinds of urges. And while that brain circuitry evolved to encourage life-prolonging desires like eating and sex, says Dr. Shrand, we now get a rush from giving in to anything we want, whether it's an illicit drug, chocolate, or buying expensive purple peep-toe boots, even when the more evolved part of our brain tells us we'll quickly regret it.

So how do you help the rational (i.e., your New Year's resolutions) triumph over the pleasure-seeking? You need to outsmart it with these research-proven strategies.

1. Give It a Workout

I'd always thought of willpower as a steady, steely resolve that made some women triathletes and some (not my real name) couch-nappers. But it's more like a muscle, says Marvin D. Seppala, M.D., chief medical officer at Hazelden, the well-known addiction treatment center. That means the more we use it, the stronger it gets — and quickly. In an experiment at the University at Albany — State University of New York, researchers asked 122 smokers who were trying to quit to exert extra self-control for two weeks, either by avoiding sweets or by squeezing on a grip strengthener for as long as they could twice a day. In the following month, 27 percent of those who were diligent about practicing their self-control exercise successfully kicked their cigarette habit, compared with just 12 percent of volunteers who'd been given a task that didn't call for self-control.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
Take your medication
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Hungover man
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Woman worn out on couch
Happy and sad faces
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
laughing family