Every year we make pie-crust promises to ourselves that we will do more, be more, and most likely lose weight. Maybe instead of looking at things in a pessimistic light and seeing a bunch of negatives that need to change, maybe there are things we can focus on that would just enhance our daily lives and overall happiness. Here are ten tips for writing New Year resolutions.

Set attainable goals. For example, let’s not say that we want to save an enormous amount of money or lose an insane amount of weight. Let’s be realistic and not set ourselves up for failure. We are not perfect nor can we obtain perfection within one year. Thus, we need to focus on setting goals that are realistic and within our reach.

With this in mind, let’s set two types of goals: short term and long term. Short term goals could be within the time frame of months to five years. For instance, we can save money for a new car, work on that master’s degree we’ve been talking about getting for months now, and so on. As for long term goals, we can save money for a new house or a big vacation trip in Europe. Setting goals that vary in due dates is very important because if we set a goal but don’t have a timeframe we don’t often accomplish our goals.

Next, the most important part of writing resolutions is things that are not super complex and complicated. A friend once told me that they choose one word every year to live by; for example, present. This one word may seem simple but it represents the person’s desire to be present in daily life and to enjoy what is happening in the now instead of worrying and living in the future or the past. Choosing one word to live by is a great resolution. Instead of saying you want to lose fifty pounds, start living by the word “healthy” or “fresh” and that word can be inspiration enough to help make the lifestyle change, or at least get you started.

Working from the inside out is always a good motto and when it comes to resolutions I like to think about what I can work on within myself before I create a resolution for my relationship with others or within my physical space around me (such as reorganizing a garage or cleaning out a basement). I like to think about things that I don’t like about myself or things that I could see myself improve upon, that are within my control, and then focus on how I can change that situation. Whether it be I want to lose weight or need to just love myself for what skin I am in, there can always be a change made so that we live happier, healthier lives.

Writing resolutions sometimes can have a bad reputation but if they’re done right they can truly change lives. Take this holiday season to reflect on the past year and think about how things can improve your life and level of happiness and what you need to do to change yourself for the better.