Making resolutions for the new year is a 4,000-year old tradition, so if you’re hoping to make 2014 the year you get healthier, fitter, or happier, you have about four millennia worth of company. To help you on your way, we’ll be posting 10 science-backed action steps for a popular resolution every day through January 10. Be sure to check back for hints and tips to kick off your best year yet!

If you’re looking to lose weight after an indulgent holiday season, you’re not alone. A 2012 survey estimated that the number of American adults who are dieting jumps from 34 million during the holidays to 50 million in the first two weeks of January. Use these tips to stay on track and meet your weight loss goals — plus check out our massive list of tricks for losing weight the healthy, science-backed way.

1. Set a realistic goal.
Think about what you can reasonably expect to be able to lose given your routine, lifestyle, upcoming trips and parties, and so on. Setting goals that are too lofty can hamper long-term weight loss.Unrealistic weight-loss goals among obese patients are associated with age and causal attributions. Wamsteker EW, Geenen R, Zelissen PM, et al. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009 Nov;109(11):1903-8

2. Pump iron.
Strength training gets you toned, buff, and it boosts metabolism, which aids in weight loss.Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in young women. Osterberg KL, Melby CL. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2000 Mar;10(1):71-81.Strength training increases resting metabolic rate and norepinephrine levels in healthy 50- to 65-yr-old men. Pratley R, Nicklas B, Rubin M, Miller J, et al. Journal of Applied Physiology. 1994 Jan;76(1):133-7. Talk about a win-win!

3. Expect success and fight to stay positive.
Weight loss can be as much a mental game as a physical one. Successful weight loss is associated with positive expectations.The effects of outcome expectations and satisfaction on weight loss and maintenance: correlational and experimental analyses–a randomized trial. Finch EA, Linde JA, Jeffery RW, et al. Journal of Health Psychology. 2005 Nov;24(6):608-16. Imagine yourself meeting your goals and remind yourself of all the great reasons you’re making the effort to lose weight.

4. Sub smartly.
Almost every favorite dish can be made healthier with a substitution.Try trading avocado or unsweetened applesauce for butter and vanilla for sugar. Heck, even sugar-laden desserts can be swapped out with healthier desserts.

5. Picture yourself eating something.
Research shows that picturing yourself eating a particular food can decrease our desire to eat it.Thought for food: imagined consumption reduces actual consumption. Morewedge CK, Huh YE, Vosgerau J. Science. 2010 Dec 10;330(6010):1530-3.

6. Keep a diary.
Successful weight loss and food diaries are a match made in heaven — research shows that recording what and when you eat aids in losing weight. If you’re more likely to tap on your phone than scribble on a pad, move your food diary to a mobile or desktop app. Research has shown that using online tech to track progress aids weight loss efforts.

7. Burn fat.
Short, intense bouts of exercise like tabatas can help reduce body fat and provide a powerful workout in a short time.The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women. Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, et al. International Journal of Obesity. 2008 Apr;32(4):684-91.

8. Curb overeating.
Portion control makes all the difference when it comes to weight loss.Use of portion-controlled entrees enhances weight loss in women. Hannum SM, Carson L, Evans EM, et al. Obesity Reseach & Clinical Practice. 2004 Mar;12(3):538-46. Fight portion distortion by getting a handle on what a sensible serving looks like.

9. Savor every bite.
Eating slowly gives your body a chance to feel full, making it less likely that you’ll overeat.Eating slowly increases the postprandial response of the anorexigenic gut hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1. Kokkinos A, le Roux CW, Alexiadou K, et al. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2010 Jan;95(1):333-7.

10. Guzzle water.
Drinking water keeps us feeling full, which means fewer calories consumed.Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity. Stookey JD, Constant F, Popkin BM, et al. Obesity. 2008 Nov;16(11):2481-8.

Which of these tips will help you most as you try to lose weight in the new year? Let us know in the comments below or get in touch with us on Twitter.