As the year comes to a close, amidst the wrapping paper and warm cookies, many of us are making our resolutions for next year. But will we keep them this time? What’s the trick to following through? Here are some practical tips on how to keep your New Year’s resolutions and start—and end—2017 with a bang.

 

Break It Down Into Baby Steps

It’s good to dream big, but if you start off by promising yourself one huge accomplishment, you might get overwhelmed. A more effective plan is to break your goal down into small steps. For example, instead of promising that you’ll organize your entire home, make your goal be to organize one room each month.

Use the Buddy System

Find a friend who’s making his or her own resolutions and arrange to check in with each other regularly. If you know someone is holding you accountable for your promises, you may be more likely to do it. Plus, there’s nothing like an encouraging text from a close friend to get you out the door and to the gym.

Make it a (Real) Part of Your Life

Resolutions shouldn’t be about finishing something to get it out of the way and be done with it. Instead, look at your resolution as a new piece of your life that’s going to stick around. Then, if you slip up one week and spend that money you were supposed to save, you don’t have to call the whole thing off. Always keep your real goal in mind and the reasons for which you made it, because that’s what will keep you striving for best results.