If you have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions, you’re not alone.

We’re supposed to make them every year. They’ll make us better people, and if we only stuck to them we’d be richer, thinner and smarter. But we don’t stick to them. New habits are tough to create and sustain, and the rewards are often too far out.

2016 New Year

New Year’s Resolutions that have a hope of sticking are S.M.A.R.T.: they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-bound. If you really want to make a life change, go through the S.M.A.R.T. list and make sure your Resolution checks off each of them.

Specific: Make it clear what it is you are trying to achieve. Don’t be wishy-washy – be as specific as you can, so you know (and can imagine) what success looks like.

Measurable: This is important. Try to put numbers around your goal, whether it is a number of pounds to lose, a distance you want to run or the amount of debt you want to eliminate.

Achievable: Be realistic. Don’t make your goal a pipe dream – you already know you won’t achieve it. To set yourself up for success, make sure your goal is achievable.

Results-Focused: A Resolution should be set with a focus on achieving your end result. This means the action steps you take should be well-directed towards achieving exactly what it is you want to achieve.

Time-bound: Perhaps the most important on this list! Try to put a time goal on your Resolution so you know whether you’re on track to achieve it. Setting interim targets is a good idea to stay motivated towards the end goal.

Whether it is weight loss, running a 10km or eliminating debt – these five S.M.A.R.T. standards will help ensure whatever Resolution you choose has a better chance of being achieved.

Happy New Year everyone!