The new year is finally upon us. It’s the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened in your life over the past 365 days, and create your New Year’s Resolutions. What are you most thankful for? What did you accomplish? What boxes were left unchecked?

One of the best parts about starting a new year is the ability to essentially start over – you’re walking into 2017 with a clean slate. This is why you make New Year’s resolutions, so that you can start doing all of those new things you’ve talked about or accomplish your most important goals.

So, why do so many of us never do what we say we’re going to do? Why do we never accomplish our New Year’s resolutions? It’s not because there’s a lack of “how to” information – in fact, there’s almost an overload. Everywhere you look has tips on how to better yourself, from the extra dollar a week savings challenge to how to get killer abs in just 15 minutes a day. What we lack are tactics to help us successfully do the “how to.”

The “how,” your New Year’s resolution, is only information. It isn’t applying those resolutions to help you accomplish your goals. How you do the how to – how you go about doing your resolutions – is more important than your resolutions themselves.

9 Ways to Make Sure You Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolutions

Here are 9 ways to go about doing your New Year’s resolutions to make sure you accomplish them:

1. Set realistic goals. This is the number one reason why you won’t accomplish your New Year’s resolutions – you don’t set realistic goals for yourself. And you will fail because of that. Why do you think gyms start clearing out around February? When you don’t see your dream body staring back at you after the first month, it’s easy to get discouraged. But, life doesn’t come with an instant button –  achieving a goal takes time, patience, and dedication. Not only do you need to be realistic about the goals you’re setting, but break them down into smaller goals. That way you can see yourself making progress regularly.

2. Track your progress. Sometimes, your progress can be small enough that you don’t notice it. This is why using something to track your progress weekly, even daily, is helpful. For example, our digital wealth management platform, JB Wealth Builder, monitors your financial health daily. It gives you the ability to produce a picture of your complete, current financial position in real time so that you can continuously monitor your progress toward your goals.

3. Form good habits. Successful people have good habits. Unsuccessful people have bad habits. It’s just that simple. Think about the actions you take every day – are they helping you inch closer toward success, or are they keeping you stagnant, even pushing you closer to failure? The simple, mundane choices you make every day will determine where you end up. Making sure that you have good habits, that you are making choices that inch you closer to success every day is essential. At first, a new habit will feel forced. But eventually, it will become second nature and part of your daily routine.

4. Surround yourself with positive people. You’re the average of your five closest friends – physically, mentally, professionally and personally. You really do become who you associate with. This is why surrounding yourself with people who are motivated, goal oriented and have an overall positive outlook on life is important. But it doesn’t just stop with your inner circle. Think about the people you look up to, the people you idolize. Are they putting positivity out into the world? Are they motivating you to be a better person, to be successful? If not, they shouldn’t be on your list of heroes.

5. Find an accountability partner. It’s easy to hit the snooze button and miss your morning workout when you’re the only one showing up. But what if you had a trainer counting on you to be there? A friend who attended your workout classes with you? You have much more motivation to show up and work out in these instances, because you have someone besides yourself depending on you – you have someone else holding you accountable. In a recent study, 70% of participants who sent weekly goal updates to a friend reported accomplishing them. This is just one example of the positive affect from an accountability partner.

6. Hold yourself accountable. Yes, we just told you to find an accountability partner. But, what is most important is that you hold yourself accountable. A lot of people struggle with the concept of responsibility. Maybe that’s because we say it in ways that can sound negative – you know, “ grow up and take responsibility for your actions.” But it isn’t a form of blame, it’s not something to avoid. Rather, responsibility means that you are the cause of everything that happens in your life. It means that no one is responsible for your success or failure but yourself.

7. Stop, think, plan and write it down. As simple as it sounds, people will routinely say they don’t have time to stop and think. But taking the time to stop and think about where you are and where you’re trying to go is important. Then, make a plan for how you’re going to get there and write it down. Remember in school when you thought writing down all of those notes was a waste of time? Well in case it hasn’t hit you by now, it certainly wasn’t. It’s scientifically proven that you are more likely to retain information and accomplish goals when you write them down.

8. Read. Reading is one of the best ways to better yourself. Ask any successful person, and you will find that they learned much of what they practice from reading. And I’m not just talking about reading for entertainment – that’s fun, but it won’t help you grow. Mix in books focused on personal development as well. Spending just 15 minutes a day reading these kinds of books can do wonders for your mind. Check out these recommendations from the Jarred Bunch bookshelf to get you started.

9. Give yourself something to look forward to. Your resolutions should produce things for you to look forward to. These should be rewards for the effort you’re putting in. Maybe it’s a vacation since you’ve exceeded your savings goal or a shopping spree for new clothes since you’ve lost weight. When you have things to look forward to – rewards for your hard work – you’re more likely to act in a way that ensures you will accomplish what you’re working toward. Plus, doing things for yourself is essential for happy human functioning.