New Year's is a time for fresh beginnings and lifestyle changes. So, making resolutions and sticking with them may seem easy for the first few weeks of the year. Once February rolls around, however, willpower often lags, and New Year's goals generally fall by the wayside. To stay on track this year, follow these five tips.

1. Start right away.

It's easy to buy new workout gear and say that you'll go to the gym, but going is often a different matter. Remember, motivation should fuel immediate action, and you can't wait for life to slow down to get started, because it never will. Instead, hop on the treadmill or attend a yoga class today. Once you start going, you'll be more likely to keep it up.

2. Go for the gold, but be happy with silver.

It's OK to set your sights high, but it's also important to remain realistic. So, instead of vowing to quit smoking cold turkey, you may want to start cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke first. And remember, if you fall short of your goal the first time, don't beat yourself up. Look at it as a learning experience, and try to get back on track as soon as possible.

3. Take baby steps.

The easiest way to start anything is by taking small, achievable steps. If you're trying to save money, for example, begin by setting a modest goal of saving $5 per paycheck every month. After two months, up the ante to $10. The less the shock to your daily routine, the more likely you'll be to stick with your resolutions.

4. Shout it from the rooftops.

Sharing your goals with people you trust can help you to stay on track. Not only is any activity more fun with friends; loyal buddies can reinforce your resolutions by providing extra motivation and positive reinforcement, even if it's just saying, Good job.

5. Look for meaning.

Whatever your goal, focus on the most meaningful benefits of it. If your resolution is to save money, remember that it will enhance your lifestyle, help you to buy a home, or enable you to travel to places you've always wanted to see. If you want to lose weight or quit smoking, concentrate on all the ways in which these goals will improve your health in the coming year and beyond.