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Blog Student Tips

Turning resolutions into goals – and smashing them!

A new year signals a do-over of sorts, a fresh start, a new page and this often motivates us to make resolutions about adopting new habits or recommitting to something we dropped along the way in the previous year. New Year’s ‘resolutions’ have become a tradition for the first few days of January with people making (mostly lofty) decisions to ‘do something’, from losing weight, and saving money to becoming a better version of themselves. The challenge is not in resolving but in carrying it out and achieving it. Without a plan, a resolution is best a dream. So this year, do something different by turning your resolutions into measurable goals which are more likely to be successful. Are you ready to see and put the work into making your dreams a reality? Here are five goal-setting tips to get you started:


Start by looking back on the past year to determine where you are and establish where you want to get to. Have a one-to-one with yourself or your mentor as you reflect on how far you got in the previous year, what worked and what needs to change. Don’t just discuss this, have a notebook and put pen to paper during this reflection exercise. This way, you can build a record of your thoughts and plans which will be crucial for evaluating how this year’s plans go at the end of it. Be honest with yourself if you intend to grow in this regard.

A girl sitting down with a book in her hand
Being able to see how far you have come can give you a lot of motivation. Even the small accomplishments add up to something big.


The SMART system has been used successfully in realising organisational goals and can also be used on an individual basis. Breaking down your goals into Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound actions will help to bring clarity to your vision, provide a timeframe for the necessary actions and give direction to your efforts and resources. Just be mindful not to set a dozen goals as this will just create more pressure on yourself, start with 5 goals and break them down to the core. So if your goal is to save money, start with an ambitious but realistic figure then work out how much you would need to save per month, per week and per day to reach that target. If you need to consider cost-cutting measures or income-generating ideas, this would be the time to jot them down too. Hopefully, you get the idea. Think SMART always!

Get an accountability partner

Being accountable to someone is crucial in turning your resolutions into goals. Check in weekly, fortnightly, or once a month so you can track your progress and adjust accordingly if necessary. There’s nothing like having someone to share your success and struggles with as you set out to achieve your dreams – you will need some encouragement along the way and at the end of the year, there’ll be someone to celebrate with.

Two people sitting at a desk with their laptops open
Having someone to reflect on the past year with will make the experience so much better. As you can look at each other’s accomplishments, you can prepare for the next year.

Seal in ink

There’s power in the written word! Make a digital and printed copy of your goals and the action plans to achieve them and print it BIG! Pin the print on a wall you look at every day – when you visually see the goals and understand the difference they will make in your life, it will motivate you to keep striving for success. When we see something it creates change in how we act as we have clarity and direction.

Adjust as you go

Sometimes, even the best plan may not work out  – if anything 2020 taught us that we can only control so much in life. External factors like a pandemic may force you to reconsider how to achieve your goals – don’t be afraid to adjust to the winds of change. Pause, reflect, reset and continue. Delay is not denial.

Have you also read these articles?

The best places to spend New Year’s Eve in the UK

The Chinese New Year at ISH

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