New Year’s resolutions for a new term

Yesterday, according to the Daily Mail, was the day when most people gave up on their New Year’s resolutions and slipped back into old habits. Apparently, on average, people make the same New Year’s resolution four times in total – and, presumably, break it the same number of times. Opinion is divided on whether the New Year is the right time or not to be setting goals and targets for the next 12 months, but it strikes me that it is as good a time as any, as long as you set about it the right way.

In schools, we prepare young people all the time to set goals and targets for their futures, to envisage that future happening, and to make it come into fruition. Based on experience, this is what makes the process effective:

1. You need a bold vision for this year ahead and beyond – a strong idea about where you are headed. Without it, you will not be able to set the goals and targets which you need to achieve it. And you need ambition – life is meant to be lived, and you want to get the most out of it. Think about this in planning what you want to do for the next 12 months.

2. You need to focus – to concentrate on what it is you want to achieve this year. With this in mind, you can write clear tasks which will help you achieve that goal. And hard work – really hard work – always pays off …

3. Be real – this is not about perfection, but about keeping going, sometimes with more energy and sometimes with less. It won’t matter in the short term if you don’t do something quite as well as you want, so don’t waste brain space on this; it does matter in the long run, however, that you keep working away with your goal in mind, and you move closer and closer to it.

4. The most effective goals are not just about you – they are part of a wider perspective on life. If you want to achieve something just for you, then you are missing out on what life has to offer – do it for the greater good of humanity, and you will discover a purpose and drive that you might never otherwise have imagined.

So – will 2012 be the year that you make a difference in the world? Go and make it happen!

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