As 2016 ended, the common theme has been making goals for 2017. We start writing our New Year’s Resolutions. Often, it’s a list of things we aspire to do in 2017—some in the list are items we wrote last year, the year prior and the year prior to that. So what’s the problem? Why do we keep writing the same resolutions every year? Aren’t we making progress? What needs to be done differently?

Ask for God’s guidance

Seeking what God wants us to accomplish helps us to be directed to things that will help us become better and more like our Savior Jesus Christ. Seeking God’s counsel on the goals we set ensures that we are not setting goals for naught, and that the goals we want to achieve are worthwhile. God will help us succeed as long as our desires are in harmony with what He wants us to achieve.

The shorter the list, the better

Some of us want to achieve as many goals as we can, which is not a bad thing at all. But the problem of having too many goals is that we lose focus on what we really want to achieve the most. Our attention and energy are divided in too many directions. This may cause exhaustion and disorientation that might lead to demotivation since every goal seem so far to achieve. Setting a few goals will give us more time to focus on each, thus accelerating progress and the chances of achieving them. Having only a few spots for our goals also eliminates the ones that do not really add value to our lives.

Break goals into small chunks

Some goals are big which makes comparing where we are now to where we want to be in the future overwhelming. This feeling comes from seeing the big goal as one piece on the checklist. Much like when our goal is to run a 26-mile marathon when we haven’t yet gone farther than 2 miles at a time. Of course, the thought can be overwhelming. But a big goal such as this does not happen all at once. This seemingly overwhelming goal becomes achievable if we break it into small chunks—chunks that can be achievable daily or weekly. Each mini-goal could be running a half-mile more than we did yesterday. This way, the goal is not impossible to achieve because we are doing it a half-mile at a time.

Writing our goals down is not enough; we must decide to make it happen

Setting goals is not just about having a list of things we wish to achieve; it’s about deciding to achieve our them no matter what happens. It’s about having the conviction that failing to succeed is not an option. It’s about sticking to them no matter how tough they can get. When we give in to thoughts that it is okay to not achieve them because we can always try next time, the possibility of slipping increases. We must give our best and go all out.

Measure progress

President Monson once shared, “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” When we set our goals, we must make sure that we can measure our progress. Knowing how far we’ve gone will motivate us to work harder. Charting our progress also allows us to improve the areas where we are sliding backwards.

2017 is a fresh new start for all of us. Let’s put our best foot forward and give our best efforts to achieve our goals.