The new year is right around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to look back on every major thing you’ve managed (or failed) to achieve and the choices you’ve made this year, wonder what you could’ve done differently, and resolve to actually do it next year.

But as great as New Year’s resolutions are, just making a list of things you’d like to change and actually committing to them are two very different things. Believe it or not, most people fail to follow through on their resolutions, because – surprise! – they require actual effort, self-discipline and good time management. Fortunately, self-discipline and time management are our bread and butter, so we’ve prepared some helpful pointers so that the changes you promised yourself you’d make years ago could finally become reality.

Be Smart About your Goals

When coming up with your list of changes and goals to tackle the next year, the most important thing to keep in mind is that they need to be specific and achievable. Sure, it would be amazing to quit smoking and lose all extra weight, but that’s hardly realistic, isn’t it?

Any significant change is a process, it takes time, and requires your active involvement all the way through. That’s why it’s important to break everything down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Not only will this allow you to plan things out a lot easier, you’ll also be able to track and control your progress towards any specific goal and see how well you’re doing overall.

Of course, everyone has their personal challenges, but if there’s one thing we all have in common is that we all want to change our lives for the better. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of some of the most common New Year’s resolutions that a lot of us tend to struggle with, and provided a bit of helpful advice on how to better deal with each one of them.

1. Get in shape

The fact that this resolution pops up in almost everyone’s lists year after year should tell you everything you need to know about just how tough it is to follow through on. The key to success here is not to expect immediate results. Make sure to find a good program or workout routine that’s easy to stick to, and allows you to measure your progress. There are plenty of free applications out there like Lose It! or MyFitnessPal that allow you to keep track of your calories intake and control your weight.

2. Spend less time on social media

For some people it’s the TV, for others it’s video games, but when it comes to useless waste of time social media addiction easily beats them all. It’s one thing to check the news feed now and then, or keep in touch with your friends and family, but if you find yourself consistently spending over an hour a day on social media, you might have a serious problem. Fortunately, free browser extensions like StayFocusd and WasteNoTime allow you to block any distracting website for a set amount of time or entire day, letting you focus on something more productive.

3. Stop procrastinating

Procrastination, the biggest enemy of achievement for most people. That nagging desire to do something fun instead of whatever else you’re supposed to be doing. Just take a moment and think how many of your last year’s resolutions you failed to achieve because of it? We bet a lot. It’s really easy to get used to, and once it’s got its claws into you, getting yourself out of the habit might prove extremely challenging. Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Arm yourself our comprehensive guide and kick procrastination’s butt in this coming year.

4. Manage your time better

Ask any working individual if they’d like to be more productive and a resounding “yes” is what you’ll get in reply 99,99% of the time. There is a lot of different ways you can increase your productivity, but getting better at time management is probably the most important one. Take a look at our list of the best time management techniques to help you make sure that none of your time goes wasted from now on.

5. Quit smoking and drinking

Two of the most widespread and dangerous habits that most people have a lot of trouble kicking, smoking and drinking are not only extremely bad for your health overall (cancer and heart disease to name a few), more often than not they are also a huge strain on your budget. So in case the obvious health benefits are not enough for you to give up tobacco and alcohol, consider how much money you’ll be saving by cutting them out of your life.

6. Save money

Unless your financial situation is truly dire and living paycheck to paycheck is your only option, there’s no excuse not to put a little money aside every month for a rainy day fund. Life can be unpredictable, and you never know when you might need some extra cash – car repairs, a sudden visit to the dentist, or even a trip abroad. Start small – you’ll be surprised how much money you could save by making just a few simple lifestyle changes. Walk or take a bike to work, cook your meals, or exercise at home instead of paying for an expensive gym membership. Alternatively, make use of various money-saving apps like Digit or Qapital to make the process a breeze.

7. Learn a new skill or a hobby

Okay, with how busy everyone’s lives are these days we have to admit that sometimes it’s nice to just sit around doing nothing at all for a minute or two. However, if doing nothing is all you do all day, that just can’t be healthy. So why not use that time in a more productive and fun way by doing something you’ve always wanted to do? Learn a new language, get into programming, start playing an instrument – anything that could contribute to your personal development and make your life more fulfilling and interesting.

A New Year, a New Opportunity

A new year is a new chapter of your life, and the way it plays out is entirely up to you. You can remain perfectly content with the way things are, or you can use it as an opportunity. An opportunity to finally get off your butt and make it your best year yet by finally following through on your resolutions!