According to a recent survey, only nine percent of us manage to carry out our New Year’s resolutions. However, it’s not all bad news. The Journal of Clinical Psychology also found that simply making a resolution over the New Year makes us ten times more likely to change our behaviour in a positive manner!
So, if you’re thinking about making changes to your personal, professional, or academic life this January, here are some ideas to help you hit the ground running.
Work smart, not hard
If you’re finding it difficult to stay focused on work or study during the dark January evenings, try finding some ways to break tasks up into more manageable pieces. Set out a few simple steps and cross a line through each of them as they get done – you’ll be amazed how satisfying it can feel.
If you’re finding it hard to get back into the swing of your studies next month, try out some different methods of learning. If you’re having difficulty staying focused when you study alone, you can join a wide range of study groups on most social media platforms these days. These allow you to make new connections with other students and plan study meet ups in the real world, such as in your local coffee shop or public library – and what could be better than making new friends while you learn new skills?
Something that helps us all work and study more effectively is making sure we get enough sleep (ideally you should be aiming for 8 hours a night, according to sleep experts). Lack of sleep has been identified as one of the main causes of a raft of physical and mental ailments, such as obesity, depression, low immunity to infections, and poor levels of concentration and memory function. To get closer to your recommended 8 hours, try making bedtime part of your planned daily schedule. If you know that you’ll need to be snuggling up by 10pm to get a full night’s rest, you’ll start to arrange things like exam revision around your sleep pattern – and your exam results will be better off for it.
Visualise what success in 2020 is going to look like
With the right determination and motivation, you’ll be able to get through any personal, professional or academic challenges that come your way. A great way of making your goals feel more attainable is to visualise them. Imagine holding your degree certificate in your hands and feeling the glow of having completed your course successfully! You can also try writing down how you think you’ll feel once your goals have been achieved next year. Pin the list in a place where you’ll see it regularly, then you’ll have a constant reminder that good times are ahead!
Learn something new every day
Making an effort to continuously move forward both professionally and academically is important not just for our careers, but also for our mental well-being and sense of self-worth. Try keeping yourself on an upward trajectory by taking an online course to gain new competencies, discussing fresh (perhaps even radical) approaches to old problems with your work colleagues, or even reading a book from a literary genre that you wouldn’t usually go for.
Set a (near) impossible target - and go for it!
Are you just starting out on an online MBA course? Have you considered trying to reach out to more experienced members of the business world, perhaps even someone who you find inspiring? What if you send an email to Elon Musk or Sheryl Sandberg and they actually reply? It might sound far-fetched, but you’d be surprised how supportive established members of the business community can be when approached by those who are just starting out. Don’t be afraid to take risks, the worst that can happen is you don’t get a response!
Remember, impossible targets are not there to stop you from taking action, but to start thinking creatively, take risks, and potentially bring about real change to your life.
How to keep your resolutions once you’ve made them?
Remember, there’s no binding rule that says you need to make resolutions at all, or that you’ve failed if you don’t keep them. However, simply the process of starting to think about parts of your professional or academic life you want to improve or focus on is a hugely positive activity.
The resolutions you’re most likely to stay the course with are the ones that remove difficulties from your life or bring you increased level of happiness. So, keep them simple, effective, and within your realm of expectations.
Or alternatively, give Elon or Sheryl a call…