AS WE enter a new year, it is a natural time to think about change. There is usually more than one thing people want to change about themselves and/or the quality of their lives.

It can be hard to get started. Or, it can be hard to keep up when change is not immediate. Do you give up on your goals and dreams because it is hard? Why not find a way to make your goals a reality?

Turn your New Year’s resolutions into realistic goals with the following steps:

List values

Make a list of the things you value. Some ideas are: health, spiritual connection, career development, relationships, economic stability, emotional well-being, and leisure time. In other words, what makes your life fulfilling?

Brainstorm goals

Evaluate each of your own values. Is there something you would like to change about any of the areas that you value? Make a second list of the goals (that is, things you’d like to change).

Make goals measurable

How will you know you have reached your goal? Reword your goals to make them as specific as possible.

An example of a measurable goal is “exercising three times a week” or “take exercise class five times a month.” These two goals are more specific and measurable than “begin exercising”.

Set a realistic time frame

Some goals will be ongoing and others will be time-specific with start/stop times. Next to each measurable goal, write out how much time/energy you would like to devote to each goal.

Which of your goals are realistic for you to accomplish this year? Cross out any that need to wait until another year.

Identify resources

Next to your realistic and measurable goals, identify what resources and/or research you will need to accomplish each goal.

Examples for the above exercise goal may be: “research gym membership fees”, “buy exercise clothes” and “find running partner”.

You will typically have several objectives under each goal.

Evaluate and celebrate

Find a place to keep your goals, so that you can evaluate them throughout the year.

Refine your list and objectives as needed. Remember not to beat yourself up.

This is meant to help you learn what works and doesn’t work for you. Self-correction does not have to be self-criticism.

Lastly, celebrate as you cross off objectives and/or reach your goal for the year!

New Year’s resolutions can be too broad or vague. Or, maybe you are trying to accomplish too much.

Following the above steps should help you make your goals more specific by identifying how much time and resources you will need to devote to them.

If you break it down, it will remind you that change takes time. Change is less like a sprint and more like a marathon. Here’s to reaching your finish line!