We do it every year: we make New Year’s resolutions–only to give up on them by February. Maybe you’ve wanted to save some money to go on vacation or pay off your car loan. Perhaps you tried to shed a few of the pounds you gained during the holidays. No matter what your resolutions, give yourself the permission to stick with them this year.

Make Realistic Resolutions

One of the biggest mistakes people make when deciding on New Year’s resolutions is aiming too high. In the beginning of the year, we think we are invincible and that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Sadly, the reality is that we aren’t setting realistic goals.

While you’re brainstorming ideas and plans, dream big. Yet don’t allow your pie in the sky to get in the way of reality. Ask yourself if your goals are actually attainable. Use the following steps to determine if your goals can be achieved. If it looks like they aren’t feasible, it’s not a bad idea to scale back a little.

Set Milestone Deadlines

Instead of setting a goal to save $10,000 by the end of the year, set milestone deadlines for your New Year’s resolutions. Chunking down your goals into smaller tasks can help you on the road to success.

For example, set a monthly goal of saving $850 a month instead of an annual goal of $10,000. Does $850 seem like a reasonable goal? How will you save this money? Will you scale back on expenses, or will you work extra hours to make more money?

If saving $850 a month doesn’t seem feasible, determine what amount is more attainable.

Analyze the Previous Year

Plenty of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions all year, but even more people just don’t. If you fall into the latter category, try to analyze previous years to figure out what went wrong.

Maybe you wanted to pay off your credit card one year, but the amount you decided to pay per month was way more than you could spare. Perhaps you decided to lose 50 pounds, but your diet got derailed at a Super Bowl party.

Use your previous years’ mistakes to your advantage.

Try to come up with a more realistic goal to pay off your credit cards. Bring healthier snacks to parties where you find yourself giving in to the bowl of guacamole.

Also, be as public with your resolutions as possible. You’re less likely to fail if others know your goals. Find a buddy to help keep you in check and motivate you when you feel yourself starting to slip.

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