It shouldn’t be a secret by now. New Year’s resolutions are hardly a recipe for a dramatic life-reversal.

Statistically speaking, a staggering number of resolutions fall flat far before the halfway point. Heck, 80 percent of them don’t even make it past February! New Years or no, only about one in every six Americans who have ever been overweight or obese is able to lose weight and maintain their new weight. But, that doesn’t stop January gym membership surges and home-gym construction.

Having said that, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t be the exception to the rule. The one that finally pushes through and conquers their sugary demons. It does happen — and it most certainly can happen to you. All you need is a positive attitude, a plan, and a little bit of old fashioned elbow grease.

1. Make a Plan

Part of the reason that many New Year’s weight-loss resolutions fall flat is that people, in their haste to lose weight, often overlook the planning stage. Don’t do this. Although it may be dull and daunting, crafting a plan is essential.

So, where do you start? A successful weight loss plan should be made of two things.

First, you’ll want to look at nutrition. After all, 80 percent of your weight loss will come from eating the right things and staying away from the wrong ones. You can use a strict meal plan or you can isolate the problem areas of your diet and replace them with healthier options. Either way, you’ll want to figure out how many calories you need to eat in order to lose weight and do your best to hit that number every day.

The second part is exercise. While most of your weight loss will come as a result of eating properly, exercise is still an important aspect of your new routine. Plus, it will help your mind as well as your weight loss goals.

2. Clean Out Your Kitchen

They’re lurking around every corner, hiding inside every cupboard, watching and waiting for you to slip up. Well, maybe they aren’t watching. But sweets, chips, sodas, and processed foods are most certainly standing between you and a skinnier, healthier you.

Purging your pantry is liberating and essential. It’s quite simple, really. You can’t binge on snack food that doesn’t exist. Plus, you’ll probably need to make some room for all of that quinoa and green tea.

Start by eliminating the clearly bad foods. Specifically, chips, cookies, and chocolate bars. Then, go through the nutrition labels and decide what is safe to keep. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to re-stock with all the healthy options that we discussed earlier.

Having a hard time throwing perfectly good sweets and junk food in the garbage? Try donating it to a local food bank or bring it to work. Your coworkers will appreciate the gesture. And more importantly, you’ll appreciate the lack of temptation.

3. Keep Track

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just eat right and exercise on the regular. Tracking — as in documenting your daily caloric intake, exercise routines, and progress — can be just as important as finishing that extra set. Documentation is the foundation of goal setting. And, with the multi-billion dollar health and wellness industry on your side, keeping track of your progress has never been easier.

Daily tracking keeps you engaged in the process, focused on your future goals, and allows you to re-live your progress at the click of a button. Calorie counting apps, fitness trackers, and progress pictures are just a few ways to track your weight loss.

It may be annoying for some, but tracking your nutrition, fitness, and physical progress truly is an essential step.

4. Visualize Success and Failure

Visualization techniques have been around for quite a while. First popularized by guru Tony Robbins, visualization allows you to emotionally experience the highs and lows of any potential undertaking in a pretty profound way. Moreover, it actually works.

For example, a recent study that looked at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined themselves lifting.

So how does that help you stay on track? Well, visualizing what success may look like for you can help negate the psychological burden of the long road ahead. On the other hand, visualizing yourself failing can harden your resolve.

While visualization techniques may feel silly, it most certainly works.

5. Be Kind to Yourself

This is the most important step of all. The people that are successful are the ones that forgive themselves for skipping the gym, eating a candy bar, or lazing on the couch, then wake up the next day to try it all over again.

No, you can’t expect it to be easy. But you can’t expect perfection either. We’re talking about a complete lifestyle overhaul. Re-shaping your life is a process — and an extremely slow one at that.

So, be patient, persistent and, most of all, forgive yourself of your transgressions.