As January 1st approaches so too does the moment for pressing what so many people consider to be a universal reset button for self-improvement. According to Harper’s Bazaar, the top three most popular New Year’s resolutions for 2017 were to lose weight, to read more, and to learn something new. What most New Year’s resolutions have in common, though, is that they tend to be abandoned by February 1st. So what is it about New Year’s resolutions that makes them so hard to stick to, and what steps can we take to make them more manageable? Here are four ways to set New Year’s resolutions that last:

Pick a manageable goal.
Self-criticism is easy – in fact, it’s too easy. This means that listing out the things we’d like to change about ourselves and our lives can leave us with a list that is not only daunting, but that also discourages and deters us from making positive changes altogether. So, while self-reflection is important, it should be done with a manageable end-goal. Picking a goal that is realistic will not only leave you with a more satisfying result but will keep you motivated as you work towards it.

Be flexible and anticipate adjustments.
While starting the year off with a goal can be a great foot to begin on, circumstances change over the course of 12 months. So be sure to check in with yourself regularly: does your lifestyle still allow you to go the gym 5 days a week? Can you really finish a book a week while still enjoying it? Accept that adjustment isn’t a declaration of failure, but a re-assessment in order to ensure the attainment of the broader goals you set – and to ensure that you enjoy yourself along the way.

Set yourself up for success.
While breaking bad habits and implementing good ones is important, don’t expect to become a new person at midnight on January 1st. Look at your track record, set expectations you know you can meet, and prepare yourself accordingly. Become a planner – set aside time in your schedule each week to work towards that goal, be it making time to spend reading at the end of each day, signing up for a weekly class, or keeping your Sunday afternoon open to do meal-prep for the week to come. Goals aren’t attained by thinking them into being – they take lifestyle changes and work. Making space for the achievement of these goals is the first step to ensuring their attainment.

Don’t wait for January 1st.
As we’ve already said, there is nothing magical about midnight on January 1st. However, by identifying your goals early on and start putting the wheels in motion, you’ll be well on your way to success. They say it takes two weeks to really get into the habit of something, and with 2018 fast approaching, why wait to begin?