Happy New Year! Let’s hope that 2017 is better than 2016 was. Now, how many of you make resolutions every January? And how long do you actually stick to them?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t stick to them very long! I always think it’s funny how quickly the gym goes from jam-packed in January to nearly empty by March. And once we start to abandon our resolutions for the year, we feel bad about ourselves and give up completely.

There has to be a better way. And there is!

1. Celebrate your accomplishments

In early 2016, instead of making New Years resolutions, I looked back over 2015 and reviewed all the awesome things I’d done. I made a list of everything good that had happened that year, particularly things that had happened because of my own efforts. I went to Bossed Up Bootcamp, I became a leader in the Women’s Information Network, I was accepted into PPMW’s Developing Leaders Program, etc. Those were all things that happened because I intentionally put myself out there.

This year, I can say that I started my own business! How awesome is that?

How did you put yourself out there in 2016? Make a list of everything great that happened, no matter how small! You’ll be surprised and impressed at everything you actually achieved. I think this is much healthier and more encouraging than only focusing on how you can do better.

Put this list somewhere you can keep adding to it as you remember more accomplishments.

2. Don’t vow to be different, expand on who you already are

We look at the new year as a fresh start; an opportunity to redesign ourselves. But we don’t need to become a different person in order to do better. Instead of beating yourself up, look at ways that you can improve your life by building on your existing traits.

For example, some people vow to read more books every year. However, if you don’t particularly enjoy reading, why would you force yourself to do more of it? Perhaps the real goal here is to spend more time learning. Well, there are other ways to do that, like listening to podcasts, taking online courses, attending classes, etc.

Look at your natural personality traits and habits. How can you take advantage of them to reach your goals, rather than trying to change who you are?

3. Identify your most important goals, and get specific

What is most important to you moving forward? Do you want to make changes in your career, love life, friendships, financial situation, etc.? Pick out those overarching goals, and then you can figure out how you can achieve them.

You’re much more likely to reach your goals if you identify them and then write them down. If these goals are big, break them down into digestible steps. This will make it much less intimidating, and also feel more attainable.

For example, if you want to save $5,000 this year, break it down into how much you’ll be saving each month or week to make it happen. From there, you can take the right steps and put systems in place to get there.

What are your specific goals for this year? What small steps will help you reach them?

4. Find an accountability buddy

If you know you have a hard time sticking to resolutions, find someone else who has similar goals. Work together to keep each other on track. This doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be a shameful process, but more of a loving support system. Share your goals with that person and have regular check-ins to make sure you’re both trying to reach them. If there are multiple people who have similar goals, create a Facebook group to cheer each other on!

Good luck this year and make sure to share your wins with me on Twitter or Money Circle!