As the New Year looms, it brings with it the promise of change. While many people make resolutions, studies show as few as 8% of people keep them. Whether your goals are personal or professional, here are some tips to help you stick to your resolutions this year.

  1. Make your goals specific and realistic. Abstract goals are hard to reach. It’s important to decide what exactly you hope to achieve, and make it something you can accomplish. This will help define your efforts, so you can plan how you will reach your goals.
  2. Measure your progress. Very few goals can be accomplished in one giant leap. You’ll want to set smaller milestones along the way and measure your progress. These smaller steps will keep you motivated and on track, while paving the way to your ultimate goal.
  3. Share your resolution and your progress. Whether it’s with your entire Facebook friends list, or just a single accountability partner, gaining the support of family, friends, and colleagues can help you reach your goals. It’s a lot harder to break your resolution when other people know about it.
  4. Give it time. You’re not going to go from a couch potato to running a marathon in a single month – or maybe even in a year. Making a change is a process, and you need to be patient to see the results. Prepare yourself mentally for this fact so it doesn’t derail you.
  5. It’s not “all or nothing”. Some days you may not be able to reach your goal – and that’s ok, but it’s no reason to give up. Anything you do to work towards your goal is still progress from where you began. Be prepared for how to deal with mistakes, because they will happen. It’s important to not let a bad day cause you to throw in the towel.
  6. Schedule time. If you don’t make time for your new efforts, you probably won’t reach your goal. Schedule time on your calendar, and make it a priority to keep those appointments with yourself.

If you failed to keep your resolutions last year, you’re not alone. This year, set yourself up for success by choosing a realistic goal and being prepared for the road ahead. With patience and perseverance, you can make a resolution you can stick to.