Every new year is one that you hope will be better than the last. Whether last year was great or not, the next one can still be improved. Yet the concept of making a list of resolutions to motivate a change in your bad habits is a lot easier said than done. It’s too hopeful to assume that a new year will make a new you. Based on statistics, only 8% of people are successful in completing their goals, while 24% will lose track by the end of next week.

Being a “new you” requires more than crossing things off a list. It’s common to make a new list of goals and by April it’ll be left in the dust, waiting for next year to repeat the cycle. There are even motivating tactics like a tiny robot made to keep you on track with your resolutions by beeping insistently until you complete them for the day. Truly, new year’s resolutions are what The Guardian calls “False Hope Syndrome.” Getting motivated by the hype of a clean start makes you believe that change is easy, but in reality it takes a lot of work.

However, the idea of changing yourself for the better isn’t completely hopeless, it just doesn’t need to be a long list. In order to really make an improvement, start by pushing yourself forward with only a single objective. Think quality versus quantity and channel this year with the one change that you wish to make which will impact your life for the better. Making a list of things can help guide you, but the best way to achieve change is through a course of action that will carry out your goal in a step by step fashion. Begin with doing something that’s different from what you’re used to. Goals like finding a new job or making new friends can be done by pushing yourself away from traditional methods. Reinvent the job circuit by inventing a new job for yourself; don’t let requirements stand in your way of applying for something, or join a bunch of society groups to socialize more. Say yes to unexpected opportunities, things could turn out to be better than expected.

Be unconventional and inventive in how you achieve these goals because progress is what you make of it. Focus on one change at a time and chip away at it slowly. Forcing yourself to do something in order to see results quickly can deter you away from the small successes. By pushing yourself to get out of the house to do something, you can make a bigger difference in the long run. Sometimes aiming for the long run can allow you to assess your changes and understand why having a goal or objective is important to you. Ultimately, by pacing yourself with one goal a year, you’ll get a lot done without the pressure of completing a whole list of things.  

Resolutions aren’t always a one-way street. So, prioritize your goals this year and forget the list. Focus on why change is necessary and push yourself to do at least one thing that moves you one step forward in achieving your goal. Sometimes accomplishments feel the most successful when there are small victories, because progress is being made. As long as you’re determined to keep trying, your goals will eventually be reached.

Remember, it’s the quality of your goals and how you choose to achieve them that matters.