New Year, new resolutions. Are you ready?

Still hanging on to your post-holiday high?

That’s great – because with energy levels up and enthusiasm at its peak, now’s the perfect time to ready yourself for some New Year’s resolutions. And we’d like to put the emphasis on “ready” – because in our experience, even the most optimistic ambition is achievable with the right preparation. With this in mind, we thought it would be pertinent to begin the year with our key tips on setting realistic goals for the months ahead. You wouldn’t run a marathon without training first, right? So have a read of our checklist below before you tear off down the track:

1. Be clear on what you want to achieve.

Write your goals down. The simple act of committing your aspirations to paper forces you to clarify your intentions and consider them with a more critical eye. What seemed a brilliant idea from the sun-washed safety of your recliner may look quite different under the unforgiving lighting of your office. Can you really make this happen?

2. Take one step at a time – and celebrate each one, too.

It’s a fine line between feeling optimistic and feeling overwhelmed. Break your goal down into bite-size bits and focus on one at a time. And remember, every step closer to the finish line is a triumph in itself. This is not the time for delayed gratification: reward yourself for making progress, no matter how insignificant it may seem – and don’t forget to acknowledge how far you’ve come.

3. Establish a realistic time frame.

When do you want to achieve your goal? Setting yourself a deadline is a great motivator. But it’s even more important to create a specific timeline and schedule each step in the process accordingly. Vague projections and poor planning will encourage goal-setting’s worst enemy: procrastination. However, make sure your time frame is reasonable. Unnecessary pressure is never your friend.

4. Share your ambitions.

Don’t underestimate the power of moral support. Share your intentions with colleagues, friends or family – they’ll keep you moving when your willpower inevitably wavers. And if a cheerleading crew isn’t enough to encourage you to stay on course, then the simple fact of being accountable to others often is.

Now, you may think there’s nothing novel in this approach, and you’d be right. Because although the challenges you face this year will be new, you’ll find it’s the same simple strategies that enable you to counter them. Keep it real. Keep on track. And make it happen – you’re ready.