By Alyssa Gregory

A new year can signify a fresh start, a new beginning. In fact, a new year can mean anything you want it to mean. That’s what is so empowering about flipping the calendar to January — we get a chance to make powerful changes to both our lives and our businesses.

But not all of us are successful at leveraging the New Year for positive changes. According to Forbes, more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year, but a meager 8% keep them. Why do so many of us fail? It’s probably because we create a resolution with loose intentions, but fail to create the plan to get us from point A to point B.

This year is the year to change all of that. Follow the tips below to make 2019 the year your New Year’s resolutions stay strong for 12 full months instead of fizzling out after a week or two.

Put a Plan in Writing

Resolutions can often be meaningless on their own. They are usually simple promises — or wishes — of what we want to happen. Without fleshing out the details and putting some sort of plan into action, most resolutions are vague and overwhelming.

Start by writing down a description of what your resolution really means to you, what the desired outcome is, by when you hope to achieve it, and what specific actions you need to take to get there.

Do One Thing at a Time, One Day at a Time

Breaking down the plan is best way to avoid getting overwhelmed, ditching your resolutions and never looking back. Now that you have an idea of what it will take, break down your list into short-term mini goals.

Each mini goal should be something that spans just a week or two and includes small tasks you can complete every day. Make a focus list each morning that highlights one mini goal task to complete and just take it step by step.

Get an Accountability Partner

Accountability partners who keep us honest are useful to have in many areas of life, including goal setting. Your accountability partner can be someone you bounce ideas off of, someone who reminds you what you’re working toward, or someone who plays devil’s advocate to inspire innovative thinking.

Consider a business partner, colleague or even your spouse as your accountability partner.

Create a Reward System for Milestones

Celebrating accomplishments of your mini goals is a great way to stay motivated, and what better way to celebrate than by lining up incentives for each of your successes.  It could be a new tech toy, a day off or lunch at your favorite restaurant. Pick things that will motivate you, then add your rewards to your plan.

Whether you create resolutions, traditional goals or simply form positive habits to improve your business, making it stick is all about committing to seeing it through and creating a working plan that you can follow at your own pace.

For more tips on creating positive change, read this SMART goal setting ebook, and get motivated to make 2019 the year you hit every mark in your small business.