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My husband and I don’t go to Vegas, book tickets on a cruise, or head for the tropics to celebrate New Year’s. We don’t go to a fancy party, or drink champagne. I am usually in bed by nine and my husband gently wakes me up at midnight to give me a kiss and wish me a joyous, successful, healthy, and happy new year.

Although we don’t ring in the New Year with a fancy party, for several hours before midnight we bring out the list of the resolutions we made the past year, and create a new list for the year we are ringing in. Last night we got out the list for 2015 in preparation, and we were both surprised. This is the first time in seventeen years that we accomplished over half of the items on our list.

Here are the five things you can do to help keep your resolutions in 2016.

  1. List specific goals not resolutions. Instead of writing, “Go to the gym more.” Try writing things like, “I will take a walk three times a week.”
  1. List details about your goals or the steps necessary to make them happen. One of our goals was to publish a book of poetry that included all of the poets in a workshop I attended. We wrote down three steps to make that happen. The first one was to ask all the poets for three poems. The second was to format the book. The third was to find a publisher. I am happy to report that the book, Sunday’s at Liberty Station was published by my husband and me in 2015.
  1. Keep the list in plain sight. In previous years, we made the list and then put it in a pile of papers somewhere and forgot about it until New Year’s Eve. This year, we kept the list in plain sight. We frequently referred to it, checked it, and crossed off the goals we had accomplished. One of the things we completed in 2015, because we reminded ourselves by checking the list, was to consolidate our finances. Just like the poetry book, we had several steps to take to make that happen, and as we accomplished the steps, we checked them off.
  1. Make it an active part of your life. By keeping the list in plain sight and checking off the steps you have accomplished, your resolutions (goals) become more like your yearly to-do list and less like a vague list of wishes you hope somehow to accomplish.
  1. Make the list team work. If you have a partner, this step is easier, but if not ask a friend or a relative to go over your list with you. Let them know what you hope to accomplish. Make them a buddy in your resolutions (goals) and ask them to help hold you accountable.

As you accomplish all of your resolutions (goals) in 2016, don’t forget to celebrate. Those small celebrations throughout the year can make up for dozing off before midnight on New Year’s Eve.