I’m gonna be super honest with you right now.

I have the hardest time keeping track of (much less accomplishing) most of my new year’s resolutions.

And if you’re like me and the majority of other people who set goals, you probably abandon your ambitious plans somewhere in the middle of February.

Let this play out over years, and it’s not unlikely you’ll be stuck in the same spot you were 5, 7, 10 years ago.

I found a better way.

Implement this small change to your new year resolution goal setting and I’m certain you’ll see much better, longer-lasting results.

Try a 12-week goal instead

Here’s a quick, high-level breakdown of how a 12-week goal will work.

  1. Set a goal that you want to accomplish in 12 weeks.
  2. Break down that 12-week goal into 3 milestones.
  3. Break down those 3 milestones into 4 smaller steps, each of which can be accomplished in one week.
  4. Break down those 4 steps into 7 tasks, one for each day of the week.

Here’s what that looks like, visually:

click image to enlarge in new window

click image to enlarge in new window

The key to this whole thing is the breakdown.

Your 12-week goal is the “big picture”. The prize you keep your eyes on throughout the 12-week time frame.

The 3 milestones are essentially smaller goals within the big goal. Meeting these on time will keep you on track to hitting that big goal in 12 weeks. It’s much easier hitting a smaller, well-defined goal within 1 month, than it is to tackle a big goal all at once with no plan.

Breaking the 3 milestones down into 4 steps each is just as critical. These smaller steps have to be quantifiable. You want to be able to track them somehow, so you can see the progress you’re making towards your milestone for the month.

For each of the 4 steps, you need to break them down into 7 individual tasks, one for each day of the week. Within the 7 weekly tasks is where the work happens.

  • Finish 7 tasks in one week to complete one weekly step.
  • 4 completed weekly steps help you reach a milestone.
  • Reach 3 milestones, and you have successfully achieved your 12-week goal.

Better than giving yourself a whole year?

The nice thing about this method is, if your 12-week goal didn’t pan out as expected, you can now adjust course and make changes to the plan as necessary, and implement that as your goal for the next 12-week period.

Even if you messed up, that’s totally fine, because any progress is better than staring at a yearly calendar and continuing to tell yourself, “I’ll get to it, eventually,” when in reality, you never even take the first step to accomplishing your goals.

Quick note: Here’s a book that will probably flesh out the ideas much more than I have here. I say “probably” because I haven’t read this book, but when looking for better goal-setting methodologies, came across the idea of 12-week goals, which seem to be a derivation of the methods from this book.

Try it!

Why are we even talking about New Year’s Resolutions right now?

Because it’s freaking NOVEMBER—is it just me, or did the year fly by waaay faster than any other year, ever?—and before you know it, it’s going to be November 2017 and I’ll be writing another article like this, and you’ll be in the same exact spot you are right now.

I’d hate for that to happen to you.

Plus, I’m all about planning early and being prepared ahead of time.

Figuring out at least one goal right now will start you off on the right foot early, and you can hit the ground running on Jan 2, 2017 (because, let’s be real here, on Jan 1, you’ll be nursing a hangover all day).

Keep time, stay on track

When it comes to keeping time on a daily basis, look no further than The 5TH.

I’m psyched I get to partner with them for this giveaway, and at the same time, make sure you’ll be as on-time and productive as possible.

A photo posted by THE 5TH (@thefifthman) on

Who is The 5TH?

The 5TH is one of my favorite young watch brands. Nowadays, they’re more of a lifestyle and accessories brand, as they’ve branched out to bags and sunglasses in addition to watches (and I’m sure much more in the near future).

But since I first discovered them, I’ve been a fan of their watches and have turned a bunch of my buds on to them as well.

See something you like from The 5TH?

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Their business model is pretty unique. On the 5th of every month, The 5TH has products available for purchase, and only for 5 days.

(Sign up on their site to be notified ahead of time, so you don’t forget!)

The cool thing about this is, you know what you want will be in stock, so long as you act quickly within that 5-day time frame. That means no more “out of stock” notifications you often see when shopping online (hate that).

A photo posted by THE 5TH (@thefifthman) on

Overall, I love the brand’s aesthetic and their products fit a minimalist, lean wardrobe very well, able to be worn with many different outfits and styles.

Here’s how The 5TH describes their mission:

The products we offer, people we work with, places we go, things we do, all centre on a common goal: inspiring people to want and get more out of life. To go after what you love. And to make the most of every moment. Because worse than finding out, is wondering ‘what if?’

I love this.

This mission, The 5TH’s products, and this season and time of year we’re in inspired our latest giveaway and I’m glad we get to do this with a company that believes there’s no better time than NOW to get out there and get shit done.

A photo posted by THE 5TH (@thefifthman) on

Win a The 5TH watch: Tell us your #1 resolution

We’re in the home stretch of 2016.

The new year is coming up, and instead of waiting to figure out your resolutions on January 1 like you usually do, let’s take one step towards your goal right now.

Whether you’re sticking with the traditional new year’s resolution (not recommended), or going with an easier-to-plan 12-week method (recommended, just follow the steps above), I want to hear what it’s time for you to do.

Here’s how to enter

1.) In the comments below, tell us: What is your ONE resolution for 2017?

What’s that one audacious goal you’re going to take head on?

Whether it’s to lose 20 lbs., finally start that side hustle project, learn leatherworking… whatever it is, I want to hear your #1 goal. Tell us below.

Bonus points: Follow The 5TH Man and Effortless Gent on Instagram.

The 5 best resolutions will win a watch from The 5TH, as a reminder that there’s no better time than now to plan your goals and start acting on them.

Important: Make sure that it’s easy to get in contact with you, in case you win! We use the Disqus commenting system, so you’ll have to log in with Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, or Google in order to leave your comment.

If you don't log in with Disqus, FB, Twitter, or Google, make sure to enter your actual name / email so we can contact you if you win!

If you don’t log in with Disqus, FB, Twitter, or Google, make sure to enter your actual name / email so we can contact you if you win!

If you leave a comment as a guest, make sure to use your actual name and email so we can get in contact with you.

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Can’t wait to read your resolutions in the comments section below.

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51 Responses

  1. Andrew Copley on

    My top resolution is to run my 5th Marshall University Half Marathon and finally beat my PR from the 1st one I ran.

  2. Taylor Black on

    I’m on the cusp of achieving several goals that I haven’t been able to achieve in the past: solid morning exercise routine, solid base mileage on cycle/distance running, promotion to director in my main gig, thriving side gig… I’ve been close to a few of these before but always burn out before I succeed. So, for 2017, my resolution is grit. Sticking through to the end in order to achieve these dreams.

  3. Vincent Wishart on

    New Year’s Resolution for 2017? Take care of my body instead of just trying to maintain the status quo. Maybe take the effort to be more meticulous when it comes to grooming, or use lotion to keep my skin from drying out more consistently.

  4. Jon on

    I have four kids and life is busy. I generally just trust that by being around our family will get what it needs. My goal for this next year is to a develop a structured plan to make sure that each of my kids is getting regular, quality time with me.

  5. Carol Roberts clark on

    my goal is to save money yes not so simple im goin to stop eating out which will help in goal 2 is to loose 90 pounds so i gonna do my two goals i have set for 2017

  6. Drew Anderson on

    After a divorce, my house repairs got pushed down the priority list. Over time the list of cleaning and repairs has gotten longer and longer. In 2017 I would like to make my house a place where my daughters are proud to have friends over, and I am happy to entertain guests. I have started using the template to map out my strategy and concrete steps towards that goal.

  7. Warren Hom on

    I took up rock climbing a few years ago, but I ended my hobby with a twisted my ankle. I have always wanted to compete in a local competition. Whether I win or lose, I want to feel like an athlete and a competitor. I never got to play sports competitively when I grew up. Now that my ankle is better, starting 2017 I want to return to rock climbing and enter a bouldering competition.

  8. Arden19 on

    I plan on seeking out professional help, probably therapy, to assist me in overcoming some of my pretty crippling self-esteem issues.

  9. Blake on

    For 2017 I plan on making a change to my wardrobe. A complete overhaul to elevate my appearance and boost my confidence.

  10. Barry on

    Buy and rehab my 1st investment property tailored for college students by March 31st, in time for students to sign up for housing for the following school year. I’ve already read several books on real estate and tax strategies over the past several months. Thanks for this encouraging post Barron!

  11. Cole Brooks on

    My resolution is to move from the midwest to Seattle. I’ve been putting it off for a year now out of fear, and I need to force myself out there because it’s going to be the most important change of my life.

  12. Dylan Reaves on

    Stay sober. If I can do it through 2017, it’ll be the first time since 2007 I’ve been sober for a full calendar year. I greatly appreciate what you said about thinking of goals in the short term, though – one day at a time, as we often say in recovery.

    I almost feel bad posting this in a “contest”…it feels like such emotional bait. But that’s where I am right now. Thanks for all you do here, Barron. Every day is another step in getting my life back together, and you’ve helped me tremendously in figuring out how to present myself and feel any sort of confidence again.

  13. Mike D on

    My number 1 resolution for 2017 is to make this year the best ever for my wife. We have been married for almost 25 years now and she has always been there for me whether it was after a brief layoff or while we struggled to get our daughter thru her teenage years. I have realized that she is the best and endeavour to make the upcoming year fantastic for her.

  14. Danno on

    My goal for next year is to learn how to make my wife happy. You see, in 2017 I’ll be getting married (in February). I recently received advice from an older, respected man who told me “in marriage, you have one year to learn how to make your wife happy. After that first year, live starts to really speed up, and other priorities come in. Use that first year wisely”. So my 2017 goal is simple (and complex), learn how to make my wife happy.

  15. Kevin Boddie on

    My resolution is to be more accountable as a husband and father. I want to do more to help my wife with the kids and do more to show her she is the only woman for me.

  16. Hayden Bernays on

    I plan on finding a way to work out and stay active more, as a college student who is no longer doing marching band I want to build good habits now that will carry through when I start to get older and keep me healthy and looking good.

  17. Valerie Simoes on


    Diet/Nutrition: Drink more water (2 liters daily), Eat better (clean, whole food), PNV, DHA, Vitamin D daily
    Recreation: Spend more time reading, art/DIY projects
    Relaxation/Stress Mgmt: Get to bed by 10 pm, Simplify/organize (1 project per week)
    Exercise: Walk daily, Yoga 3/wk + Tabata 2/wk
    Relationships: Daily Quality Time with each Kid and Husband, Date night In/Out with Husband (2/mo), Mommy and Me (4), Sister time 1/mo, Parents 1/mo
    Time in Nature: Hike/Walk/Parks
    Spiritual Involvement: prayer/bible study/journaling daily, fellowship at MOMS weekly
    Service/Contribution: Cooking for MOMS, Tithing/Contribute to things that matter to us

  18. Lewis Purcell on

    My wife and I are starting our resolution early. Today we are finalizing our budget. Organizing and planning with bullet journaling and starting a business to walk away from employment by the end of 2017.

  19. hijodelantorcha nunya on

    Plan on getting more active. Stopped working out and running winter of two years ago. Time hasn’t done any favors. As the saying goes “energy begets energy”.

  20. Isaac Muñoz on

    My goal for 2017 is to start my journey to becoming a better husband and first-time dad!

    (I’m not naïve to believe I will accomplish this in one calendar year, but if it’s something worth achieving, why not start now?)

    My wife and I found out we were pregnant last week (it’s a crazy exciting feeling!) and since that moment I have not stopped thinking about the personal development that I need to undergo for the benefit of my wife and unborn child.

    Some of my goals include, but are not limited to, saving for an emergency fund, showing my wife how much I care for her, and thinking about how to teach my future child how to do good for humanity!

    As you can imagine, it is a scary and anxious feeling, but I’m excited to start 2017 on a better path that hopefully continues through my entire life!

    Thanks EG, for giving me the chance to verbalize (or, in this case, type) my ambitions and goals for 2017!

  21. Raymond Fenton on

    My goal for 2017 is to kill two birds
    with one stone: start freelancing by quitting smoking.

    I desperately need an extra income (especially after discovering this site,) but there is an e-course that will do just the trick. The problem? It’s a little pricy.

    However, cigarette prices are getting bumped on Jan 1st so I thought, “If I save this money instead of smoking it, I could afford it within 6 months!”

    So I set up an Ing Direct savings account with a sub account specifically labeled “e-courses” and my plan is to transfer 7.50 every two days (how often I buy a pack) and reward myself by watching my money grow.

    Also, this way, I don’t have to feel guilty for investing that money on myself. 🙂 It’s a win/win.

    If I fail here and there, its okay because that money will be locked away anyway! Even if I only cut down by 50%, thats a major win.

  22. Oliver R on

    My goal for 2017? To follow in the footsteps of my Grandfathers. While the world is a very different place to when they left Britain during the 1940s, I still want to think that what their generation ended up sacrificing so much for was to make the world a more tolerant and equitable place for everyone in it. I want to see that it is still there.

    My father’s father served in India during WW2. He went from industrial, factory polluted Bolton to the exotic world of India where he was a mechanic in the British Army. A working class boy brought up in coal soot he never lost the wonder he discovered through his exposure to a culture so different from his own. My Grandma recently told me how, after their children had left home, he had equipped a truck in the late 1970s to travel overland to India so that he could take her to see the places that he had told her about. Then the Soviet-Afghan war broke out and their plans fell apart and they sold the truck and she has never travelled much further than the UK after they focused on a quieter life to simply be there for their grandchildren. I remember him as a happy man, dressed in a three-piece suit and smelling of pipe tobacco. He told stories of adventure in distant places and he instilled a respect for foreign cultures that I admire today. He died when I was too young and left me his camera.

    My other Grandfather served in North Africa and then into Italy with Montgomery and especially ANZAC troops. After demobilising he did the best he could for a few years in post-war Britain and then, frustrated, he took his young family to New Zealand. My older aunt and uncle remember the steam ship there; my Mum and her younger sister were born in NZ. When he died of a heart condition around 20 years after first moving to Aotearoa they all eventually re-located to the UK, but all have returned to NZ to a greater or lesser extent since then. My side of the family not so much; one visit to see cousins and the old country I grew up with hearing so much about (The rugby players train by carrying a full grown ram under each arm on their farms! Edmund Hillary used to walk the hill behind where I grew up every weekend!). I never met this Grandfather but my mother’s family is defined by a man brave enough to make a life for his family on the far side of the world thanks to the men he met under fire in the desert.

    In 2017 my resolution is to take the steps necessary to to travel to the places that changed both their lives. I want to feel North Africa and India and, eventually, make my way to New Zealand. My plan is to travel by motorbike (Honda CB500X with a Rally Raid L3 conversion if you’re asking) and pick a route that will take me through as many of the places that they experienced and to be as vulnerable to the vicissitudes of fate that they may have endured as I can.

    Thanks EG, for asking about our goals for 2017. While this idea has been rolling in my mind for a few years it’s the first time I’ve put this down in words. Strangely, it’s a relief to see it set out in words and I will work harder towards it because of this.

    Here is a picture during a kit shakedown during a recent trip to Scotland:


  23. ericdtchang on

    I like what was said below, especially about the person following the footsteps of his grandfathers. I really enjoy seeking adventure too and lived two years in Boston as well as for a bit in Austin. I learned so much during that time in my life. I’m back in California where I was born with a passion to create art. I picked that passion up in Boston. So, for my 2017 goal, I would like to start to learn about hand lettering. I bought my tools and a course online to learn but wasn’t sure about how to put it into a plan. However, with this guide, it is much clearer!

  24. Aoerel on

    My resolution for 2017 is a continuation from 2014. Not many of us found Tru love during there live time. You never feel more alive and happy and fulfilled as you do when you are in love. Everything is possible and if you want to move mountains ,I tell you that together you can.
    I’m one of the lucky ones, I’ve found my love14 eayrs ago. Love at first site. I cannot describe what I felt inside of me in that moment when I saw her for the first time, but that thing hunts me even now after all this years.
    We’ve tried something for a while but she was to young and me didn’t knew what I wanted and live punished us and give us other people to love and different pats to follow. We got married separately,had children separately but didn’t work out for any of us.
    Three years ago we have found each other again by chance and the felling was the same like the first time I’ve seen her. She told me what happened,I told her.
    She told me what she felt when she saw me , I told her. And decided not to lose this chance. Now we have to stick together but is not as easy as it was. We have beautiful kids now that are more important than love and they come first. We are in different countries. Bought of us have Ex-es that cannot accept an end.
    But we are still holding hands, we fight to be a family this time. It’s so hard to stay apart.My grandfather has he’s last days now, you should see my grandmother how she stays next to him every second, holding his hand, smile to him all the time and telling stupid jokes only to see him say something, anything. She told me ” Is so hard to say goodbye! ” they’ve been married 57 years but you can see how much they love each other still.
    I want something like that even if it takes me all my life ,sow I have to be determined and don’t give up.
    Never give up!

  25. Luis on

    I want to be an art director in a top agency where I live now (Chile). Right now I’m been there a month as a designer, so it’s clearly the next step in my career. This in my true only focus, I want to do more things of course, but I realise that’s better to focus on my main focus and keep it building from there.

  26. José Antonio Torres Osorio on

    My 2017 resolution is to be more present in the short periods of time I get to be with my family. Sometimes I discover myself still engaged in some work activity on the phone or tablet, or simply thinking about that great new project at the office while THE greatest project: life, passes me by inadvertently.

  27. Adam Markley on

    I want get better at making alterations on clothing. I love thrift shopping, but cant always find the right size. So being able to make most alterations would save some money

  28. InternRita_StyleGirlfriend on

    Have to confess I’ve never really heard about the 12-week method but it’s definitely something I’ll give a try for the next year! As for resolutions, I think becoming a positive minded person is something I’ll strive for in 2017!

  29. Thomas Marino on

    My resolution for 2017 is to build a remarkable business that offers an experience clients are looking for. You need to set yourself apart from the competition if you want to survive. You need to be remarkable. When you take the time to build a remarkable business, people talk about it in online reviews, via email, on social media, in blogs and in person. When you tell a remarkable story, your clients start spreading the word about your company FOR you. Having my business become more successful will allow me to create more family experiences, more community experiences, and continue my personal fitness journey of doing things outside my comfort zone.

  30. Stewart Hudnall on

    This may sound cheesy, corny, or weird; but my resolution for 2017 is to be hired as a high school assistant principal. This has been a career goal of mine for a really long time and the competition in my area is quite intense. I know a watch from The 5th would go a long way to showing my professionalism, especially in the multiple interviews I will go through.

  31. L H on

    When I admire something in someone or appreciate an aspect of his or her personality, I often don’t say it. So, one resolution for 2017 is to always pass on the compliment, not just think it.

  32. Eric Davis on

    My goal is to spend more quality time with my wife and sons. Over the past five years I’ve been caught up in trying to build up my freelance career that I have neglected spending good, memorable time with my family. That’s changing now but will be a major priority in the coming year.

  33. Barron on

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your goals for 2017. I hope each and every one of you kill it this year. Congrats to the following peeps: @stewarthudnall:disqus @josantoniotorresosorio:disqus @ericdtchang:disqus @raymondfenton:disqus @disqus_6XpgvqPTRn:disqus — shoot me an email (b at effortlessgent dot com) and we’ll get you a new The5TH watch.