By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms

As we kick off the new year, people are solidifying their 2020 resolutions and preparing for a brighter future.

But what if you have trouble creating and setting goals you can stick to? As reported by U.S. News, 80 percent of people fail to keep their resolutions by February. Many people struggle to create goals that align with their lifestyles and are manageable to carry throughout the year. Everyone wants overnight change without putting in the work.

If this is you, then it’s time to change your perspective and start creating goals you can keep. Here are four tips to help you make New Year’s resolutions you see through until the end of the year.

Start small.

You may want to make a billion dollars in the next five years, but if you’re going to get closer to a big goal like that, then you need to start small. It sets you up for success when you start with bite-sized goals because they’re easier to achieve and let you enjoy the smaller accomplishments. Thinking of the big picture, while motivating, can damage the progress you make by becoming too overwhelming.

So, when creating your New Year’s resolutions, start small. You want to stick to goals that you feel are manageable for your lifestyle and that you can keep. It’s good to dream, but it’s also important to remain realistic about your expectations. 

For example, let’s say you want to quit drinking soda. Rather than deciding that you’ll never take a sip of Coke again after January 1, you can agree to a few cans a week instead. As time goes on, it’ll be easier to resist the temptation, and you’ll be able to avoid it on your own.

Educate yourself.

If your resolution is to lose 50 pounds but you don’t know the first thing about getting in shape, then of course you’ll have a difficult time seeing results. You can’t expect the first of January to come around and the answers to magically appear. You need to conduct research before committing to anything you set out to do.

When you have a general idea of what your goal is, read up on it. Perform Google searches. Hit up the library. Ask friends and family about their experiences, if they have any. The more knowledge you gather, the more informed you will be about what the journey will feel like. 

The more research you perform, the easier it is to feel genuine excitement about your future. Change is a good thing when you work toward goals that are good for you and make you happy.

Think about your passions.

It’s easier to get excited about creating new goals when they revolve around things you care about. Using your passion to move forward with your life next year ensures that you continue using your creative muscles and find happiness in what you love to do. Your goals don’t always have to be about winning prizes or gaining recognition; you can make goals solely for your own enjoyment.

Consider what you’re passionate about and what drives you. What makes you feel excited inside? What do you do to escape the world and feel a release from life’s everyday pains and problems?

Use your passions to create goals that continue motivating you and making you happy. Whether it’s art, music, sports or something else, making time for what you love increases your chances of following through with your resolutions and seeing them come to fruition. 

Pick only a few things.

It’s great if there are a lot of things you want to accomplish, but if you have several outstanding things on your list, it’s likely you won’t be able to get to all of them in time. This is where remaining realistic comes back into play. Time is limited, and if you kid yourself into thinking you have enough time to do everything on your huge list, then you’ll feel disappointed in the end.

Pick a few goals, and stick to them. You can’t change your entire lifestyle overnight. If you want to see big changes, you need to move gradually. Think about the surest thing on your list or what you want to accomplish the most. 

When you successfully reach one small goal, then you can confidently move on to the next. Imagine setting only huge goals and never hitting them. Constantly waiting for good news will discourage you from creating resolutions again. 

Setting goals for the new year is important because it sets you on the right track for the future and encourages you to move forward. Once you know how to set realistic, actionable resolutions, it’ll be easier to follow through and make positive changes.

Jared Atchison is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.