If you had ‘new year, new me’ as your Facebook status, odds are you were deleted from my friends list. It’s entirely probable that you had the same status last year. And the year before. Did you change? Maybe a little. Did you achieve the kind of change you set out to achieve? Probably not. Here’s where you went wrong, and what you can do to live up to your resolutions.

Goals are too big

You want to be happier. You want to be healthier. You want to work better. You want to achieve more. You want to make new friends. You want this year to just be better.

The goals we set ourselves are, more often than not, too big or too vague. They can’t be achieved, so we tell ourselves we’ve failed. We lose motivation and end up giving up on our goals altogether, deeming them unachievable.

Your entire life, you’ve been told to dream big. There are millions of YouTube videos dedicated to motivating you to reach for the stars – what they don’t tell you is that you have to ricochet off asteroids and comets to get there. These are the goals you should be aiming for.

Make a list of all the big aspirations and dreams you have in life. These can be the vague targets we talked about earlier. From these, choose three. You’re going to work towards these as the year progresses.

Now, break these big tasks down.

Want to be healthier? Great. Ask yourself: how do I achieve this? The answer lies in your diet, and your exercise routine, so base your sub-goals around these. Want to be lean? Maybe set a daily macro an exercise plan goal, and do a tally for every day you achieve it.

This idea of breaking down your big goals into smaller chunks is a proven method of motivation. When we achieve something, we’re more likely to stick to it. All these smaller chunks will allow you to measure your progress towards the bigger goal.

Deadline is unrealistic

How long a year actually is, is relative to the size of what you want to achieve with it. Want to build a house? Great, you can probably finish that. Want to build a city? Tad longer. Your deadline should reflect the magnitude of your goals and sub-goals. Do some research. Want a six-pack? Six months is the average time to achieve it before you have to maintain it. If your aim is to become a homeowner a deposit might take a few years of saving, rather than just one. Don’t feel like you’re restricted to a year when you make your resolutions, and don’t be disheartened if you don’t achieve them in that year – as long as you’re actively working towards your targets that’s all that matters.

You’re not prepared

Set a structure to achieve your goals and to limit distractions. Leave your trainers out by your bed in the evening, so that when you wake up the flow of your day takes you towards exercising. Place healthy ingredients at the front of the fridge, rather than closer to the back. Mould your world to make it as easy as possible to achieve what you’d like to achieve.

You just don’t want to be that person

If you consistently find yourself not making any effort to achieve a goal, do you really want to achieve it? Initiate existential crisis. We all work towards what makes us happy, or what we think will make us happy. Doubt creeps its way into our everyday lives and manifests itself in demotivation. Whilst a lot of advice you’ll get is to ignore that doubt, if you consistently find yourself acting against your perceived self-interest – invite it in. Talk to it. Think about what you really want from life, and reassess your goals to suit that purpose.