With a new year on the horizon, many of you may be making grand plans for 2019. Unfortunately, resolutions made under the pressure of the clock ticking down to midnight are usually forgotten by February. How can you make it more likely that your resolutions last?

My advice: do your homework first.

In other words, think it through and make a plan. This applies to most goals, but especially to those that require constant, daily attention- like diet, exercise, and other health-related goals. Here are some things to think about when making your resolutions for the new year.

Be specific

Making your goal specific and detailed will make it easier to develop a plan. A goal such as “I will eat better this year” is too vague, making it difficult to stick to. Think through what specific improvements you’d like to see in your eating habits, and what resources or actions you might need to help you succeed. When will you carve time into your day or week to make these changes happen? Who will you lean on for support? And why have you not been successful with these goals in the past? Thinking through details like this will help you push past many of the common roadblocks that can slow your progress and keep you from achieving your goals.

Be honest with yourself

Let’s say, for example, that you have zero motivation to exercise. Expecting yourself to start up an intense exercise program to reach your weight or health goals might not be reasonable. Think about what is important to you and what you are interested in when making your plan of action. If cooking is what excites you, perhaps planning and prepping meals in advance is a good place to focus your efforts. More of a detail-oriented type? Making a plan to keep a thorough food journal may be the way to go. Remember, there are many ways to attack a problem. Choose a method that will keep you motivated when that initial wave of excitement fades.

Mark your calendar

You’ll be more likely to follow through with new plans when you actually work them into your schedule ahead of time. So, pick times that you are willing and able to dedicate to your goal, and write them down (or type them in, if you’re more digitally-inclined). Furthermore, we need an end-point or a time frame in which we expect to complete the task at hand. Leaving your goals open-ended can lead to procrastination, and eventually, loss of motivation. If your goal is a lofty one, set a series of smaller goals to keep you focused and excited over a longer period of time.

Ready to set those resolutions now? As with most things, a little planning and preparation can go a long way. Now, get out there and make it a great 2019!