Recently, I read that a mere 8% of people successfully achieve their resolutions for the new year. An extremely low percentage, but not the least bit shocking to me. I’ve never been successful at goal-setting myself. Yet somehow, I achieved so much this year. Which got me thinking: imagine what I could achieve if I were more intentional about my goals. Challenge Detroit has definitely inspired me to shift my focus toward reflection and goal-setting on a much more mature and serious level. Goal-setting can be overwhelming, though. So, I’ve been seeking out some advice and researching the best strategies for successfully reaching those bright and shiny new years resolutions. I’ve managed to get some pretty stellar advice, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in my quest.

Set quarterly goals. I love this one! When you’re preparing for the new year, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of resolutions that you can come up with. Anybody will tell you that the key is to create goals that are manageable. Think SMART goals. The concept of quarterly goals takes this concept to the next level, breaking your goals down into 90-day periods. 90 days is long enough to do something significant, but short enough to make the task feel much less overwhelming. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to focus on one or two goals at a time as opposed to 6-8 all at once.

Be clear. Saying, “I’m going to start going to the gym” or “I’m going to start eating healthier” isn’t helpful. I’m definitely guilty of setting these types of goals, and I never realized that I was setting myself up for failure. It’s important to set goals that are specific, quantitative and measurable. Make it something that you can easily track. “I’m going to run 3 time per week” or “I’m going to cut out potato chips, french fries and ice cream” are much more productive goals.

Put it in writing. This is something I implement in my daily life that keeps me motivated and accountable. I think writing down your goals, long and short term, is important and ultimately leads you to success.

Have a plan. This is a vital step of the process that I’ve honestly never considered. It’s easy to get so focused on the outcome that you forget to create an action plan. I love the idea of creating a timeline of action steps that you can tick off, giving you the opportunity to celebrate small accomplishments as you work your way towards your ultimate goal.

There you have it! I’m looking forward to implementing these fantastic pieces of advice into my life as I work towards my 2017 goals!