New Years Resolutions can be seriously underrated, because when they're done right, they're nothing to laugh about - I started 2016 with 3 main goals I wanted to achieve in the year, and found myself pleasantly surprised by September when I stumbled across the list and realised I had already ticked all of them off. Although you've probably heard a lot of underwhelming statistics - "Only 10% of people achieve their New Year's Resolutions" - it's up to you at the end of the day to make sure you belong in that 10%.

There are two keys to making shit happen - motivation and willpower - that drive your resilience and consequent success. But it comes down to your habits and daily rituals for you to see those successes through. To best prep yourself for 2017, I've put together my own New Years Resolutions 2017 Action Plan for you to follow. After spending the past year pouring over self-help worksheets and researching this kind of thing, I hope I've been able to come up with a schema that might help you as much as it helped me.

Decide on 3 GOALS (too many more than three will be overwhelming, but up to five can work). Your goals can fall into whatever category you like - for instance, if you feel like your Personal/Self area of life needs more attention, most of them might fall into that category. Otherwise, come up with a goal for each of the following:

- Meditate for 10 minutes every morning
- Put in volunteer hours for a charity or cause I feel passionate about
- Learn a new instrument or language

- Get Distinctions or High Distinctions in all my classes
- Apply for exchange to study abroad
- Get a job that is more closely in line with my envisioned career pathway

- Buy a new car
- Invest in my first home or property
- Implement a weekly budget strategy to help me save money 

The idea is to ensure all your goals are SMART -


So "Buy a new car" turns into "Buy a new Mazda 3 by September this year by working at least one part time job alongside my uni commitments". This technique means that your goal will become far less abstract as you are specifying the details (none of that ambiguous "In 2017 I will be more healthy!" bullcrap), and will force you to really reflect on your current situation and what you might have to change to achieve your desired end goal. Ironing out all the creases, so to speak, means that you won't have any excuses to give yourself half way through the year regarding why you haven't been able to make leeway on your journey. 

Courtesy of my blossoming addiction to Kikki K. products

Courtesy of my blossoming addiction to Kikki K. products

Pair every goal with a few sentences answering the question -
Why do you want to achieve it?
Reinforcing the motivation behind these goals can help you better understand yourself, and will allow you to appreciate the values that make you who you are. Self-awareness is rad, and will support you immensely on your journey.

Here is your 5 Step Action Plan, where you turn those goals into logistical steps that you can take in order to achieve your dreams.

This is where everything suddenly becomes realistic, which is often the most exciting part. What are all the steps you will have to take to reach your final destination? Here's an example;

GOAL: Travel across Europe for a month in June-July period

1. Save 7k in the bank
2. Book return int'l flights
3. Book internal transport and accomm
4. Get travel card and travel SIM card
5. Document travels on my blog

Sounds a lot less intimidating than "deadline", doesn't it? I believe a huge factor in failing to meet our New Years Resolutions comes down to cracking under the pressure of an ever-impending December 31st deadline. Elect a date for each step within each goal to check in with yourself and monitor your progress. If your Action Plan isn't completed by the end of the year, worry not - re-plan and let your goal-achieving roll into the New Year. 

Life isn't a series of stop-start achievements, or moments of have or have-not - we're constantly growing and changing, and our trials and errors are perhaps the most authentic aspect of our human condition. So go easy on yourself - you're gonna do great, pal.