As we prepare to bid farewell to another year it is only natural to reflect upon the past twelve months and how they have, or have not, lived up to expectations. If you think back to this time last year when you thought about the year ahead, what were your plans? Your expectations? Your promises to yourself and others? How many of those have been realised? If you can honestly say that they have, then sadly you are in the minority.The majority will look back and barely remember the resolutions they decided upon. No doubt they were all made with the best of intentions but unfortunately New Year resolutions rarely last past January; if they ever get off the ground in the first place. Still, year after year people continue to make promises about changes knowing the improbability of ever seeing them through.New Year resolutions are part of a long standing tradition dating back 4000 years ago when assurances about better conduct were made to pagan gods by the Babylonians at the time of new crops. Over the centuries the dates on which these declarations were made may have changed from March to January and the promises have shifted from the external pagan promises to Roman worshipping of their two headed god Janus, who symbolised looking back at the old year and into the new, onto religious ceremonies and pledges to God, and currently to more internal resolutions many of us set out to follow for ourselves. However, the commonality remains that moving into a New Year promises of changes and improvements are made during celebrations for the coming months.These promises may be either a bit of fun, intentions for real life changing decisions, lame attempts at righting the detrimental ways we are living or quiet, personal determinations we keep to ourselves and slowly work on in private. The reasons may vary, but the sentiments behind them are all the same; to be better, to live healthier, to be happier and to live a more fulfilling life.It may be that you have long decided the futility of making New Year resolutions. If so, at least reconsider your reasons. There is nothing wrong with setting goals; in fact they are a healthy practice on the road to achievement. Goals in the quest for improvement are superlative to both short and long-term planning.The best time to break old habits is at times associated with newness and a new year is certainly that. That fresh start somehow seems easier to embark upon as the dates change and a new routine may be devised to incorporate the reformed practices that have been set out. The key is to be realistic.Whatever your reason or plans, a suggestion for you all; how about this year without dismissing your need for positive change, you allow the main focus to shift to what went right last year? What were your successes? What did you do that produced good outcomes or resulted in good things for those around you? If you can determine what you did that was good, what contributed to your success and how you maintained the positive things in your life, you can make sure you keep doing those things during the year to come.However you intend to celebrate this year, however you intend to move into the new one, take time to consider a few things. Before you highlight all of your faults and claim to be able to fix them all in the coming months, maybe it would be more productive to be honest and recognise your capabilities and willpower and decide on achievable changes that will be beneficial to your physical and mental health. Remember to take account of the good that has passed this year and carry that forward with you into the next. If you are determined to make drastic changes; the best of luck to you. Stay focused and remember why you want to change when the going gets tough. We are usually more capable than we give ourselves credit for.If 2016 was a good year for you, may it continue. If it was a really challenging year then acknowledge the fact that you survived it and you now have the opportunity to start a new one. Putting aside those few things that remain out of our control, this next year will rely heavily on what you make of it. Go into 2017 with a positive, energised attitude that will carry you through.