One tradition that most of us share is setting goals or resolutions for ourselves when a new year dances its way into our lives. Some of us focus on productivity or health. We might focus on adventure or our careers. Regardless of what areas of your life you want to improve or focus on this year, the important thing to do is make sure your resolutions are effective.

If you set resolutions that are planned poorly, are too difficult, or don’t really match up with where you’re going in life, you’re going to feel discouraged. So, you need a game plan, a path to your perfect New Year’s resolutions. Believe it or not, it’s easier than it sounds.

Be Specific

Resolutions, like any other goals, need to be something you can latch onto. This is easier if you can visualize exactly what you want to achieve. So, make your resolutions specific goals. Instead of saying, “I want to be a better dancer,” say, “I want to achieve a higher leap,” or “I want to increase my ankle strength.”

Both of these resolutions are specific. “Better dancer” could mean anything, but a high leap and strong ankles are both visual, and more importantly, both of these goals are trackable. You can measure the height of your leap and the ease with which you do combinations and steps that require greater ankle strength. If you can visualize your goal and keep track of your progress throughout the year, you’re on the right track.

Know Why

Why do you want to set these goals? Even though New Year’s resolutions are a tradition, you don’t want to make them just because you’re expected to. When you make your resolutions, take time to also write down or make a mental note of why you want to tackle these challenges in the coming year. What are you trying to gain? Why do you want to focus on this particular aspect of your life? If you don’t know why you’re doing it, it will be harder for you to want to complete your goals.

Make a Plan

Now that you have a resolution that you can visualize and the motivation to do it, it’s time to make a plan! Create a graph to chart your progress month to month, make a checklist, a travel list, whatever you need to keep your resolutions in mind and be able to see your successes. Make sure to mark out milestones for yourself, so you can celebrate your progress!