NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Many are thinking about new year’s resolutions, and for many that includes dropping some weight, but studies show most people who set such goals don’t stick to them.

Experts say shifting your mindset might just be the key to success, reports CBS2’s Hilary Lane.

For example, Helen Perzan has lost 20 pounds over the past year.

“I’m working out five days a week, so I’m really motivated,” she said.

She says losing weight wasn’t her priority. Her goal was to feel better and stay mobile.

“If you want long-term behavior change, you really have to focus on positive reinforcement,” said Dr. Brandon Alderman, associate professor of Rutgers University.

Dr. Brandon Alderman studies exercise psychology at Rutgers University. He says Helen has the right idea, and she likely had success shedding pounds because it wasn’t her primary focus.

“When your goals are tied in to something you really want to see, like weight loss, and you step on the scale two weeks after January and you don’t see a measurable amount of weight loss, you aren’t getting any sort of reinforcement,” he said.

He says that’s also why so many people give up on their fitness resolutions after just a few weeks. To make resolutions that stick: Be smart — set smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and time based goals.

“Set your goals in relation to an immediate benefit that you might gain,” said Alderman. “I want to reduce my level of stress. I want to sleep better, Those are immediate benefits tied to exercise.”

Exercise should be considered a habit or just a part of the daily routine. At least 30 minutes a day five times a week is recommended for most adults.