New Years is a great time to make changes in your life, whether they’re around finances, technology or health. Research has shown that we’re more likely to follow through on our goals when we start them at a time that can be seen as a new beginning. For example, you’re more likely to stick with a lifestyle change that you start at the beginning or the week rather than on a Wednesday. A new year is certainly a clean slate, which is part of the reason many people consider it the perfect time to implement changes.

Make yourself a success story this year by following these tips to see your goal through to fruition.

1. Write it down.

Putting pen to paper takes your goal from something you’ve thought about to something you’ve committed to. Research shows that writing down your goal makes you more likely to achieve it. For added motivation, post your goal somewhere you will see it often.

2. Know the steps involved.

Another way to increase your likelihood of achieving your goal is to write down the steps that will help you get there. Be specific! If your goal is to reduce your sugar intake, some supporting steps might include eating a vegetable with every meal, not buying processed foods, and eliminating sugary drink consumption.

3. Make sure your goals are SMART.

For many people, New Year’s resolutions are whatever they brainstorm in the week before Christmas and January 1. However, taking time to refine those goals can help you achieve them. One way is to make sure that your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.   

4. Reward yourself.

Many goals have built-in rewards. If you’re decreasing spending, a natural reward is feeling less financial stress. Decreasing sugar naturally gives you more energy, which feels great. Those intrinsic rewards are satisfying, but you can also boost motivation by giving yourself additional rewards. If you go to the gym four days one week, reward yourself with a manicure. If you’ve successfully avoided added sugar for a month, treat yourself to a new outfit. These small rewards can really up your motivation.

5. Partner up.

Everything is more fun when you’re doing it with a friend. If you know someone with similar goals, partner up to support each other. That way you can share victories, keep each other accountable and motivate each other when the novelty of New Year’s resolutions wears off.

Keeping New Year’s resolutions is hard but not impossible. Make 2019 the year you achieve your goals!