How to make your resolutions work in 2017

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After months of countdown clocks, media advertising and retail promotions, a great number of us will still be caught in that ‘last minute’ rush on Christmas Eve.

Whether you join the festive celebrations or not, you cannot fail to be affected by the cloud of panic that sweeps over the nation as the final hours before Christmas Day tick by. Come Boxing Day, many of us pledge to be more prepared next year. Often this is the time when we create an extensive list of ‘resolutions’.

So why is it then that our good intentions don’t materialise? Surely being aware of the need to make improvements would by itself guarantee us success in the future? Well, apparently not.

Luckily, New Year’s resolutions only come round annually however when it comes to the day-to-day challenges of work and study, do you address your ambitions or simply accept given situations and settle with what you have? The fact is life can be unpredictable and we cannot possibly know what may happen next. However, we do have the option to be as prepared as we can be and proactively pursue our goals.

So whether you are looking  to further your career, focus your studies, or more effectively manage your CPD I’ve devised a few tips and tricks that should help focus you and enable you to move forward.

Make it work for you

We are all unique and the methods we use to help us stay organised or carry out daily tasks differ from person to person. What might work for your colleagues will not necessarily be the best option for you. Think about techniques you have used to get to where you are now. Have they been effective? Is there anything you would choose to do different to get better results?

Find out what makes you tick

There is no point aiming for a target we have no enthusiasm for. It might seem logical to follow the usual progression and ‘work your way up’ but is it really what you want? Sometimes, by being brave and considering our options, we can branch out and end up with a great deal more personal and professional gain from doing so.

Don’t wait for the moment

Take control. Often the time frame of courses or progression opportunities does not coincide with the academic or Jan-Dec year. Therefore, waiting until the shops start stocking shiny new planners to make ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ is simply not going to work. If you want to change for the better, why wait? Start now whilst the fire is hot. Being proactive whilst you have the motivation is far more likely to produce sustainable results than putting things off for another day.

Be realistic

No matter how determined you are, there are simply some challenges that are just not going to be as easy as you want them to be. That doesn’t mean you should avoid them, just be open to the fact that there will be some hurdles you may have to overcome to reach your target. The good news is that everyone is in the same boat. Think about it from another perspective….if someone had woken up one morning and decided to perform a heart transplant would you trust them over a doctor who had slogged their way through years of intensive medical training? Its the same with accountancy.

Celebrate your achievements

Even if they may seem small, the more we recognise our accomplishments, the longer our enthusiasm and motivation stick around for. You don’t have to have a party every time you submit a report, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a good excuse for cake!

Accept the limitations

You may be ready to take over the world today but someone or something is making you wait. This is normal but rather than stopping until something happens, utilise the time by starting work on another challenge on your list.

Work backwards

Look at your overall goal then consider the smaller tasks that need to be completed to get there. These are actions that you can do now and it is these that we should be of focusing on. I like to call these ‘digestives’….not only as an excuse to eat biscuits whilst completing them but as a reminder that trying to achieve things in one go is a choking hazard – bite size chunks are much more realistic and safe option! Doing things this way allows us to makes small adaptions along the way, so the overall result could be better than you initially anticipated.

Hopefully these will have inspired you to evaluate your organisation methods. I do think the most important point to emphasise though is to remind you that you are human. Sometimes we make mistakes, we fail to meet targets and things don’t go the way we want them to. As frustrating as this may seem, this is life and although it may be hard to believe, things could be worse. My final wish for you all is that you go easy on yourself this Christmas. However you choose to spend the special day I hope you take the chance to have a break, relax and be thankful for what you do have. You may even find the tips above help to effectively form a strategy for tackling that Christmas dinner plate scenario!

Amy Rowe is a former AAT student and a freelance writer reflecting on personal experiences. She covers a range of topics including lifestyle, wellbeing and study skills.

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