In January, many will set a goal for the New Year that for most will be hard to keep. By February, resolutions to eat better and exercise more will be forgotten about at best, abandoned at worst. How can people stick to their resolutions? Stanford scholars from across the social sciences, science and medicine are working together to better understand what works – and what doesn’t work – when people want to make a change in their lives.

Stanford researchers have studied what can cause people to abandon their goal and how they can stay motivated. They have also explored what leads to successful health outcomes: Is a low-carb diet better than a low-fat one? According to one study, it’s neither. Or how accurate are fitness trackers? When counting calories burned, researchers found not very. Is exercise or diet better for weight loss? One health researcher found that for best results, it may be useful to do both at the same time.

Here is insight – and maybe a little inspiration – for how to accomplish any goal, plus specific tips on achieving some of the most common resolutions.