UNITED STATES—Well America, 2016 is over, and I’m ecstatic! I really have not been happier to kick-off a New Year and 2017 I have high hopes for. Like many Americans, I am also setting resolutions for 2017, the biggest being eliminating unnecessary stress. Stress is something we all encounter in life, but at the same time, I’ve learned that you can curb stress by taking control of it.

While eliminating stress is my big resolution for 2017, I’m sure many others have resolutions pertaining to finances, money, exercise, diet, alcohol, smoking and many more. However, it’s so easy to kick your resolution to the curb after falling off the wagon.

Any resolution starts with a plan! You have to set realistic goals that don’t set the bar too high to where failure is an option. If the goal is to lose weight, implement a goal that is attainable each week, like losing 1-2 pounds a week. Don’t just say I want to lose 100 pounds by March, think feasible, reasonable within your limits. Setting extreme goals without thinking about possible hiccups along the way can force one to easily become discouraged when THOSE RESULTS are not obtained.

Trust me; you don’t want to give up that easily because you suffered a minor hiccup. We all have hiccups people, if we didn’t we wouldn’t be challenged to fight harder when the odds are against us. Keep a journal. This might be the most important thing in my opinion. Detailing what you’re doing to attain your goal or whatever accomplishment you’re hoping for in the New Year will give you motivation, drive to push forward. While journaling is not something many Americans are fond of, those who have diet goals or exercise goals in play, writing what you’ve eaten or how long you exercised each day will give that perspective on your path to victory. In addition, if you have a day where you slip, you can see how to remedy that situation at the same time.

Another important aspect in accomplishing your resolution is to talk to others about what you’re aiming to do. However, be aware of who you discuss your resolution with. If you’re prone to be around negative individuals, it might be wise to distance yourself from those individuals and surround yourself around positive and encouraging individuals.

I hate to say it, but it’s true: plenty of people don’t like to see others succeed. Another individual’s success makes one not only jealous, but question why they were unable to attain certain goals or resolutions they may have aimed to accomplish, but fell short. Negative energy can spread like a plague people; misery loves company.

Lastly, celebrate your victories. Each week that you edge closer to your accomplishment celebrate that victory. It can be gold stars, purchasing an item, saving extra money, whatever you feel is a feasible acknowledgement that makes you feel even stronger with the realization that your goal will be attained by the specified deadline that you have set.

Remember with any resolution, it’s a thing you WANT to accomplish to make yourself a better person. Rather that revolves around being healthier, more positive, financially frugal or curbing a bad habit that has impacted your life, you can indeed accomplish anything you put your mind to. Yes, it sounds silly, but sometimes the silliest thing is the smartest thing.