Happy New Year! January is upon us again, a time of year when we reflect on the past and think about new beginnings and New Year’s resolutions…
New Year’s resolutions are easy to make but rarely last. We often begin the year with high expectations and being super motivated, however, within weeks the January blues kick in, and we find ourselves struggling to continue with our goals. In fact, studies have shown that approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail.
Common resolutions people set are goals like ‘have more money’, ‘lose weight’ or ‘get a new car’ but these aren’t really resolutions – they’re outcomes. Though you may have the resolve to accomplish your resolutions, there might not necessarily be a straightforward route to your end goals.
If you want to achieve your resolutions, you need to think of practical ways to move towards your goals, by setting realistic objectives that will help you get there. So, when you set a resolution, think of it as though you’re setting yourself a promise to do the work to achieve your outcome. Because unfortunately, you can’t just dream yourself up a salary raise or a fitter body…
Here are five New Year’s resolutions we think you should set in 2021 and can stick to, as well as how to achieve them:
1. Prioritise your mental health
There’s no denying 2020 was a challenging year for the world. Many have struggled to maintain their mental wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic. Common feelings people have expressed are:
- Anger or frustration
- Loneliness or isolation
- Low mood
- Worried or scared
If you experienced or are still experiencing these emotions, try to keep in mind that it is normal to have difficult feelings, especially during a pandemic! Mind UK has shared some practical ideas and tips for taking care of your mental wellbeing during coronavirus – you can check these out here.
Good mental wellbeing doesn’t mean you’re always happy or unaffected by challenges. However, poor mental wellbeing can make it more difficult to cope with life and achieving your goals. Therefore, prioritising your mental wellbeing should be of the utmost importance.
2. Be optimally productive
An unexpected by-product of the pandemic was that we were all urged to be more productive and hustle even harder. With many of us encouraged or mandated to work from home, across social media people posted about using their newfound additional time (saved from not commuting) to take up a course, learn how to crochet, or start up a side business. Peer pressure and FOMO (fear of missing out) feelings can be immense!
But it is important to remind yourself that being productive is made even harder when you’ve got disruptions to your daily routine with no escape. Add to the mix a barrage of overwhelmingly bad and confusing news, and it’s the perfect combination to make you sick and tired, as well as worsening existing mental health conditions for those who have them.
So, no, we don’t think you should force yourself to be more productive. Though we believe there are things you could definitely do which may help you to optimise your productivity. These include:
Organising a new routine
Coronavirus has completely disrupted daily routines, resulting in increased stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet and physical condition, as well as ineffective use of time. Now is a great time to arrange a new daily routine: establish a consistent sleep-wake cycle, eat your meals at the same time (away from your workspace), and start integrating some exercise (even if it’s just short walks away from the desk).
Taking breaks and scheduling downtime
Take your breaks! This is particularly important for those of us still working from home. Rather than working through your breakfast and lunch at your desk, ensure that you have movement breaks throughout the day, even if it’s only for a short while. Studies have found breaks help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day!
Block out specific times in your calendar for downtime. For example, don’t schedule work meetings outside of office hours. Safeguard your evenings to spend with family and activities that enrich you or you personally enjoy. And don’t just schedule downtime in your calendar and ignore it. Think of it this way, if you’ve scheduled a chat with your boss, would you not show up to the meeting because you’ve got too much work to do?
Cutting down on your news and social media consumption
Staying informed about current events is important but it can easily overwhelm you. Try restricting your news consumption to around 30 minutes a day, so that you can stay up to date without it affecting your day. Social media is also a common distraction and part of the problem is that it’s available at the touch of a finger.
Most of us spend hours aimlessly scrolling through our feeds! If it affects your concentration think about only logging onto social media at specific times, ideally twice a day for short bursts of time: in the morning and at the end of the day. Perhaps even consider removing social media apps from your phone as a way to limit your usage.
3. Make a career plan
Are you seeking a promotion, or perhaps you’re looking for a job with better work perks or a higher salary? Perhaps you’re considering changing your career path to a different industry?
Getting clarity on your career goal is an important key to tapping into the drive that wills you past obstacles. The main reason why people don’t achieve their goal is because it wasn’t that important to them in the first place, or they didn’t set clear objectives to help them accomplish their career aspiration. These are a few key tips that could help:
- Evaluate your career so far and what you like and don’t like about your job or industry
- Keep your CV/resume up to date
- Review and improve your LinkedIn profile and maintain your professional network connections
- Make a note of key accomplishments you’ve achieved at work when they happen (so you don’t forget)
- Find a work mentor to guide you and propel your career forward
- Invest in yourself through pursing professional development opportunities
4. Learn a new skill or develop one
There are numerous skills you can learn that will enrich you. If you’ve always wanted to learn a particular skill, then why not start now using the time you’ve blocked out as downtime in your calendar? Steve Jobs decided to take a calligraphy course which ended up inspiring him creatively and influenced his Apple designs!
Developing your skillset can also advance your career. One of the best methods to help develop your skills is through further study. There are many study options out there, ranging from free courses that can be completed in a couple of hours to academically rigorous formal qualifications such as Bachelors and Masters degrees.
If you’re unable to attend physical classes, this doesn’t mean you should give up on your development. Consider online study, as it’s a convenient and flexible option that could work for you. Are you overwhelmed by the many study choices available? Then check out our helpful guide on how to choose your course.
It takes time to learn a new skill, at least one that is worth learning, so you’ll need to be patient and give yourself time!
5. Allow for slip ups
People often don’t stick with their New Year resolution’s because they lose steam or their plans don’t pan out perfectly; perhaps they fall ill, skip a gym session or miss a class they signed up for. But remember to think of your resolutions as a promise to work on things to get your desired outcomes. It can take time to change longstanding behaviours and achieve your goals. Allow yourself slip ups – the important thing to do is never give up!
Achieving some, if not all, of these New Year’s resolutions this year is possible with University of Essex Online. Our affordable programmes are designed to help you upskill and provide knowledge which could enable you to get that promotion and higher salary or change career path.
We offer a range of 100% online part-time degrees and short courses in business, computing, education, health, law, criminology and psychology. Our qualifications include undergraduate level CertHEs and Bachelors degrees and postgraduate level PG Certs, PG Dips and Masters degrees, with study durations ranging from as little as 8 months to 4 years.
Though you’ll study 100% online and part-time, you will still benefit from the same level of support and resources that you’d expect from a campus-based institution and a top UK university.
Once you’ve been accepted onto one of our programmes, you will be introduced to your Student Support team, who will mentor and guide you throughout your study journey – and if you’re going through a challenging time, they’ll be on hand to provide support.
You will also have 24/7 access to our state-of-the-art virtual learning environment – with your lecturecasts, discussion forums, live seminars and Q&A sessions, as well as an eLibrary and online resources – enabling you to flexibly fit studying around your schedule.
Ready to set 2021 goals you can stick to? Get a prospectus to find the course for you now!