If you’ve resolved to quit smoking, lose weight or make more money, the beginning of January is “the worst time of the year” to start working on those goals, according to one Toronto psychologist.

“You’re basically setting yourself up to fail,” said Dr. Oren Amitay, noting that he never makes New Year’s resolutions.

The “new year, new me” approach to life goals doesn’t work for so many people because the first couple of weeks of January are “the worst time of the year” to make resolutions, Dr. Amitay told CTV News Channel on Monday.

“You’re recovering from holidays, you’ve got work to catch up on, it’s really cold, people are miserable.”

Dr. Amitay said that spring is a more reasonable time of the year to start making changes in your life and work toward specific goals. But improving your life “should be something you try to do all the time,” instead of making yearly resolutions, he said.

For those who still want to work on New Year’s resolutions, Amitay offered some advice:

1.  “Be patient. You’re not going to see the changes right away.”

2.  Set very specific goals; such as losing 5 pounds, instead of just vaguely resolving to “eat better”.

3.  “Make it manageable, make it short term.”  Start with a one- or two-week plan to achieve a small goal, such as cutting back on fast food, and then “build on small successes.”

4.  If you don’t hit your “perfect” goal within the specified time frame, have a sub-goal that can be achieved more easily so you don’t get discouraged.

5.  “Get other people involved.” Encouragement and support from family members or friends goes a long way and they can keep you on track.