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You can practically hear it. Maybe it’s an email about a sale at Old Navy, or the siren song of a large latte with almond milk (and maybe one of those croissants). Maybe it’s the comfy bed calling you away from the running shoes and sports bra you so diligently set out last night. Maybe it’s that nice bottle of cabernet you bought for Christmas but didn’t get a chance to open before January 1st. It’s got you asking yourself: Isn’t it time to give up on that silly New Year’s resolution? NO! Or maybe it is. We took five common resolutions and talked to experts about how to keep going now that the going’s gotten tough — or how to bust them in a big way.

Resolution: Save some bucks

How to keep it

After the holiday shopping season, your bank account might be looking a little low. And your credit card balances might be looking pretty high. As a first step to getting back on track, you’re bringing your lunch to work every day. But now the Tupperware’d leftovers and Ziploc’ed sandwiches are starting to get a little boring. Add a special ingredient, says Michelle Singletary, a personal finance columnist for The Washington Post. “As you’re packing your lunch, take a copy of your credit card bill and put it in your lunch sack,” she says. “That will show you that you can’t afford to give up.” She also suggests deleting any shopping apps from your phone to avoid temptation. But if you do break down and splurge, don’t beat yourself up. “We are human. We mess up. Just start all over again,” she says. “Every day you open your eyes is another chance to get it right.”


One big hit on the slot machines at MGM National Harbor and you've got that 401(k) FILLED. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

How to break it

The fun thing about breaking this resolution is it might ACTUALLY MAKE YOU RICH (it will not make you rich). On Saturday at the MGM National Harbor casino (101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill, Md.), $100 gets you into a blackjack tournament where you might walk away with the $35,000 grand prize (or possibly nothing). On Jan. 27, there’s a slots tournament with a $99 buy-in that could net you $12,000 in cash (but probably won’t). Feel like James Bond? How about plunking down $100 so you can win 10 grand playing baccarat on Jan. 28? (How hard can baccarat be?) That’s on top of the usual table games, slots and card games. PLUS, there’s a poker tournament nearly every day — and anyone who’s watched the pros play Texas Hold’em on ESPN should at least be able to walk away with a few more chips than you came in with. Really, how can you lose? (There are, in fact, many ways you can lose.)

Resolution: Go booze-free

How to keep it

Abstaining from alcohol in January has become a trend, and Derek Brown has been doing it for at least seven years. That’s surprising, considering he’s president of Drink Company, which owns several local bars, and author of the upcoming book “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World.” “Drinking is part of my job, and it especially got heavy around the holidays,” Brown says. “I took January as a way to detox.” Now that you’ve made it through one booze-free weekend, your resolve might be weakening. “There are two things that help me,” Brown says. “First is just telling my friends about it. Saying, ‘I’m going to do this’ gives you a little fuel to keep going. Second, instead of saying, ‘This is what I’m not doing,’ ask, ‘What am I doing in place of that?’ Go rock climbing or try a meditation class — do something that encourages a healthy behavior.” (Those with a serious alcohol problem, of course, may need more help.)

How to break it

Wineries are great places to thoughtfully sip chardonnay, pretend you know what “oaky” means and then buy a bottle because you feel guilty after drinking all those free samples. Most people visit them in the warmer months, but the real wine drinkers step up all year long. The Daylight Winter Wine Fest at City Winery (1350 Okie St. NE; Jan. 18, 8 p.m.-2 a.m., $20) allows you to dance and drink, and the drinking part means you’ll only get better at dancing! From 8 to 10 p.m., your ticket gets you a tasting flight of four wines. Starting at 10 is the Daylight After party, featuring DJ Divine spinning dance songs from the 1970s to the ’90s. End your dry spell by choosing from a wine list that is nearly 30 pages long — or have a beer or a cocktail. If you’re going to slip, it might as well be at a place where you can do the Electric Slide (note: There is no guarantee DJ Divine will play the Electric Slide song).

Resolution: Eat smart

How to keep it

“People start these restrictive diets, these detox cleanses, and they’re miserable after 10 days,” says Kaitlin Eckstein, a registered dietitian with Rebecca Bitzer & Associates. “I actually recommend adding more to your life — more vegetables, more fiber.” Instead of promising yourself that you’ll eat only organic, vegan, gluten-free, local foods, Eckstein suggests focusing on small goals. “It could be ‘Today I’m going to eat an extra vegetable’ or ‘Tomorrow I’m going to have a plant-based meal,’ ” she says. “The overarching theme is consistency. And maybe one day you do go out with your friends and get the french fries, but it’s really about what the long term looks like.” Even when you have a big goal, small steps are still the way to go. Instead of thinking, “I have to lose 40 pounds,” think, “I want to lose 2 pounds this month,” Eckstein says. “It’s small, but it’s realistic and achievable.”


Hayley Steinbarth defeated the Sprig and Sprout pho challenge in just over 37:00. (Pamela Rivers-Salisbury)

How to break it

“We can usually tell within the first 15 minutes if someone is going to make it or not,” says Jennifer Hoang, chef-owner of Sprig and Sprout (2317 Wisconsin Ave. NW). “Making it” in this context means completing the restaurant’s Pho Challenge. Participants have an hour to finish a bowl of the traditional Vietnamese soup — a BIG bowl. Each contains 3 quarts of broth, 2 pounds of lean brisket and flank steak, a pound of veggies and herbs and 2 pounds of rice noodles (substitutions are available for vegetarians). Win and the soup is free, your picture and name go on the restaurant’s wall, and you get to add “ate 5 pounds of food in one sitting” to your Tinder bio. Lose and you pony up $40 (you do get to keep the leftovers). Hoang says past winners haven’t exhibited a common strategy. “It’s really just coming in and eating like a regular bowl of pho,” she says. “Just faster. And they don’t chew as much.”

Resolution: Floss every day

How to keep it

“We can totally tell when you lie about flossing,” says Rick Jackomis of Jackomis Dental in Sterling, Va. Dentists and hygienists nag because they care — and because flossing is really important. If you don’t floss, plaque builds up to tartar, which can get below the gum line and open the door to infection. “People lose their teeth because of it,” Jackomis says. If you’re starting to lose the will to floss, Jackomis suggests putting a guilt-inducing sticky note in the middle of your mirror that just says “FLOSS.” “Nobody enjoys it,” Jackomis says. “But the connection between your overall health and your teeth is very clear. If your gums aren’t healthy, your body won’t be healthy.”

How to break it

You can eat sticky candy and still keep all your chompers. “We have customers who are in their late 80s, early 90s, even over 100, who have eaten this their whole lives who have all their teeth,” says Regina Clansky, manager of the Silver Spring outpost of Velatis (8408B Georgia Ave.), a local company that’s been making its signature caramels since 1866. “There is one very, very chewy caramel that will stick to your teeth,” Clansky says. But if you’re looking to keep your fillings where they’re supposed to be, “we have a sugary caramel that’s cooked more like fudge,” she adds. “I think if [customers] allow themselves a small treat and take care of their teeth, they’ll be fine.”

Resolution: Exercise more

How to keep it

Personal trainer Lauren Abramson actually doesn’t much care for the traditional, ambitious “THIS is the year I run that marathon!” resolution. “There’s a finite start time, which to me means there’s going to be a finite end time,” says Abramson, who works for Storm Fitness, an in-home personal training company based in Reston, Va. “It’s always, everyone goes hard and fast for two weeks and then peters out.” So pick an activity that you not only like, but one that is manageable. “What are you going to do that’s going to keep you coming back?” she says. “And set goals like, ‘I’m going to do 90 minutes [of exercise] this week. I don’t care what it is.’” And keep in mind that once you’ve started, you’ve already won something. “Putting on the shoes and showing up,” Abramson says. “That’s usually the hardest thing.”


"Cocoons" at recharj Meditation and Nap Studio will not tell your boss your "lunch meeting" was with a pillow. (Christine Marcella)

How to break it

This is more a shift in mindset rather than an endorsement of continually hitting the snooze button. “What I would propose is that folks make a resolution in general to get more sleep,” says Daniel Turissini, owner of recharj (1445 New York Ave. NW), a D.C. meditation and nap studio. “And within that, thinking about a power nap as part of that holistic wellness component.” At recharj, clients have a space for a 25-minute power nap in a place that isn’t the backseat of your car. Curtains surround a “cocoon” that “really conforms to your body and gives you that back support. It really feels like you’re resting on a cloud.” After 25 minutes, a gentle alarm sounds and the snoozer is ready to get back to the day. “Power naps are fantastic for that energy boost right after lunch,” Turissini says. “It’s important to maintain that level of productivity throughout the day without stimulants or medication. A power nap is a natural, fantastic way to reboot your system.”