Every year, business leaders set goals for the new year. These goals are typically ambitious, and that’s probably true for you as well. Yet how many times have you set a New Year’s resolution just for it to fizzle out after January ends? If your resolutions rarely come to fruition, it’s time to rethink the way you create goals. No matter what your goal is — you want to onboard new clients, decrease turnover, bring new technology into your office, etc. — it’s important to take the right approach.

As you set big goals for next year, make a solid plan so they become a reality. Increase your success with these tips on setting effective goals the right way.

Starting a goal may feel easy at first, but as the months go on and you encounter obstacles, it can be all too easy to give up. Follow through on your promises. Hold yourself and your employees accountable.

Many times, we drop things when the going gets tough. You need an incentive. The mind needs something to sense as a reward, and this work fine even if they are self-created.

There are a few ways to make sure you stay on track, such as by having an accountability partner. Reporting to another individual holds you accountable for your progress, and vice versa. Another idea is to use visual tools, which physically represent your progress. Whiteboards, magnets, incentive sheets and other visual aids let you see your progress at a glance. You can also make a digital spreadsheet to track progress remotely. These tools make it easier to gauge how far you’ve come — and harder to make excuses.

Setting realistic expectations is a matter of identifying what you want and creating a solid plan. Ultimately, you want to identify the change you’d like to see and create achievable steps to lead you to that goal. You may do this in writing, using a calendar or some other tool that helps you visualize your plan:

  1. State what you want to achieve in the simplest terms possible.
  2. Identify strengths and weaknesses. What is your current team capable of? How will you overcome any potential pitfalls?
  3. Examine your resources. Utilize apps or programs that can help you organize and stay on track. Technology offers many ways to visually see progress in the forms of timetables, charts and reports.

By clearly outlining the goal and your plan, you can transform an intangible idea in your head into a real, obtainable agenda.

The start of a new year is a new opportunity. Rather than reserving yourself for another year of failed resolutions, get off on the right footing by thinking critically about your goals. Building a plan prepares you to overcome any rough patches and gives you time to organize. With these tips, you and your team can tackle anything that happens in the upcoming year.

Article originally written and appeared in www.forbes.com