The new year is well underway, and if you’re like most people, you’re probably still staring at that list of resolutions you made for 2018. Goals don’t achieve themselves, though; you have to work at them every single day if you want to reach your desired outcome – and if you fall behind or make a mistake, you need to be willing to pick yourself up and keep trying.

If you find yourself struggling to stay on top of your annual goals, take a step back. Examine your plans and processes, and see if there’s an easier way to bring your dreams within reach. Fifteen members of Young Entrepreneur Council offered their best practical advice for achieving your goals this year.

1. Set Fewer Goals
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While it can be tempting to set numerous significant personal and professional goals, the more goals you are pursuing, the less focused you will be on accomplishing any one of them. By setting fewer goals, you will be able to better focus on achieving them, and in turn, will be more likely ultimately succeed. – Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs

2. Set Realistic Monthly Goals for the Year
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If you’re trying to go from 0 to 100, you’ll probably fail. I would look at a big picture goal for 2018 and then break it down into smaller monthly goals. Each time you create a new habit and succeed at a monthly goal, you’re getting closer to your long-term goal but your also compounding momentum and you’re really positioning yourself for success. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. – Brett Maloley,

3. Focus on Behavioral Changes
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On a piece of paper, write down a list of things you need to keep doing, stop doing, and try doing. On another sheet, write down what you need to increase, reduce and maintain. Now every morning, look at these two lists as soon as you wake up. This will make your goals achievable by reinforcing it with concrete and measurable behavioral changes that you can start right away. – Raad Ahmed, LawTrades

4. Tackle the Hard Ones First
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There are certain goals and tasks that we all like to avoid. One way to increase productivity and also get the year off to a good start is to tackle a handful of undesirable tasks and goals within the first month of the year. This way there is a feeling of accomplishment that can carry through the remaining 11 months. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

5. Do a Social Media Detox to Purge Negative Influences and Boost Positive Ones
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Use social media wisely to help inspire you, not annoy you. Our daily habits become who we are. So follow people that are already doing the habits you want to pick up on and let them motivate you to crush your goals. Take a look at your Facebook likes. Unlike anything that doesn’t pertain to the person you want to be tomorrow and do the same on Instagram and Twitter. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

6. Allow Yourself to Fail (But Don’t Give Up)
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If one of your goals for the new year is to stick to good habits, such as a diet or exercise regimen, you need to understand that failing to stick to your goal once is not an excuse to give up entirely. You haven’t truly failed until you completely give up, so the best way you ensure that you will stick to your goals is to give yourself permission to keep trying. – Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

7. Manually Track Your Goals
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Once you’ve made the necessary steps to achieving your goals and know which behaviors to modify, you can manually track your behaviors to ensure that you’re not self-sabotaging. Whenever something no longer works, change your mind. Whatever you modify must serve the purpose of helping you achieve your goal. If it doesn’t, don’t push yourself to finish. – Cody McLain, SupportNinja

8. ‘StickK’ to Your Resolutions
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I’m personally employing a great new tool called stickK. It was developed by two Yale professors and an MBA student and utilizes cutting-edge behavioral economics to help people achieve goals. Each user creates a “commitment contract.” You’re encouraged to put money on the line that you will sacrifice if you fail to meet your commitment. – Thomas Smale, FE International

9. Analyze the Benefits of Accomplishing Your Goal (and the Consequences of Not Doing It)
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When you want to accomplish a goal, don’t just “try.” Make a decision, become clear about exactly what you want, analyze the benefits of doing it and the consequences of not doing it, and take massive action to make sure you accomplish it. – Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint

10. Find an Accountability Partner

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Find someone who you confide in and make them your accountability partner. Define your goals for the year and put them in writing. Keep them as specific as possible. Goals tend to fail when you keep them broad. Give that list to your accountability partner and set aside a monthly check-in with them to review steps you’ve taken to push towards your goals. – Brandon Houston, Switch Video

11. Break Your Main Goal Down
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Think of your main goal like the fabric on an umbrella. After you set it, create “spokes.” What are the mini-actions and goals you can accomplish in order to get your big goal accomplished? If your big goal is daunting or dependent on one thing, you’re more likely to fall off, forget or give it up. By creating mini-goals and actions, the journey is also successful. – Jen Brown, The Engaging Educator

12. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
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SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Related.” SMART goals help you define clear goals with a timeline. Instead of saying, “go to the gym more this year,” a SMART goal would be “I will go to the gym for at least 45 minutes three times per week until 1/1/2019.” SMART goals will help you stay on track this year. – Brandon Stapper, Crown Growth

13. Start with the End in Mind
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As you’re charging hard for those 2018 goals, it’s important to have a crystal clear vision of how they relate to the overall mission and the goals transcending this New Year. Doing this will also help bring others into the 2018 planning and make it easier to comprehend the “why” of those goals. – Michael Spinosa, Unleashed Technologies

14. Develop a Template from Past Achievements
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It’s important to set realistic goals and constantly strive to meet those. However, remember what helped you reach past goals. Was it writing down notes? Was it continually tracking your progress? Using another person to hold you accountable? Everyone is a bit different when it comes goal setting and execution, but success breeds success. – Shawn Schulze,


  • Scott Gerber

    Founder and CEO

    Young Entrepreneur Council

    Scott Gerber is the founder of YEC, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. Learn more at