Sound familiar? If you’re anything like I am, the start of each New Year begins with a promise – a vow to make a change – a vow to finally accomplish that goal that’s within reach. And if you’re also like I am, the year likely ends with that resolution sitting off to the side, collecting dust until the next New Year. Gone, but not forgotten. We aren’t alone – it turns out that fewer than half of us keep our resolutions for longer than six months.
There are literally millions of stories posted online about how to successfully keep a resolution. As I started reading some articles, I realized that I am surrounded by real-life examples of success every day. The past few years I’ve had the privilege of working on our Westwood success stories initiative (www.westoodcollegesuccess.com). I’ve read hundreds of stories from alumni who resolved to graduate from college and earn a degree to better provide for their families, to do meaningful work, to realize their potential and to follow their dreams.
If your resolution (New Year’s or otherwise) is to become a college graduate, you probably have a lot of questions. Check out this Your Questions Answered video series that shares advice from some of the above-mentioned alumni. Sometimes the best way to learn is from those who have already been where you are now. This video will let you get answers to your questions directly from graduates who are now working in their fields. Topics include these categories and more:
Through hope, patience, determination and perseverance, these alumni all achieved the same goal – they took control of their future and changed their lives for the better. Today, they are role models, parents, managers, technologists, designers, artists, builders, creators, caretakers, business owners, volunteers and leaders.
We make resolutions because we have unmet goals that need to be realized. It doesn’t matter if it’s graduating college, finding a new job, losing weight or being a nicer person. We can meet our goals by having realistic expectations, taking one step at a time and focusing on the end result.
While resolutions are hard to stick to, studies also show those of us who do make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain our goals than those who don’t try. I truly believe the outcome is worth the hard work and perseverance we put into achieving our goals. This year is my year. Will it be yours, too?
Take control, get ahead. That is the stand-out theme for this week’s roundup. From taking your finances by the reins to controlling your trajectory toward being a boss, finding the motivation, dedication and discipline within yourself is the key to unlocking all of the possibilities that lie ahead.
Jobacle: How to Make Your Paycheck Last
Having a strong understanding of your finances is one of the most important habits you can follow yourself and instill in your family, whether you are holding a job while going to school or working to secure your first position after graduation. This article provides a great, high-level overview of easy changes to make in order to ensure you know where your money is going each month.
College Recruiter: What Degrees and Work Have in Common
What do college and the workforce have in common? Plenty. From time management to dedicated focus during easy and hard times, earning a college degree prepares you for your career well beyond what the textbooks teach you.
Monster Working: Be a Boss!
Check out this post for a comprehensive roundup of links to articles with tips and tricks for getting ahead.
We are always eager for your feedback, so please leave us a comment below to let us know what you think about this week’s reading roundup!
As I write this, we’re nearly two full weeks into January, and for most of us, our New Year’s resolutions are still fresh and attainable. But according to a 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol, 80% of all New Year’s resolutions are not kept. Something over the coming weeks or months will gradually, or even immediately happen that will cause most of us to break our resolutions, and fail to accomplish our goals.
It’s no different for those of you who are working on obtaining a college degree. In fact, with that type of long-term goal that involves significant work and ambition, it’s even easier to give up, become distracted, or put your education on hold until an “easier time.” Here are five basic tips to help you stay motivated, and hopefully help you achieve one of the largest and most beneficial goals of your lifetime – a college degree:
1) Set bite-sized goals to help achieve a larger goal
Completing your college degree can be intimidating. It can take several years, and no doubt there will be numerous challenges and setbacks along the way. When you’re working toward a long term, two-to-three year goal, it is extremely helpful to set short-term milestones or goals. It could be completing a semester or term. Maybe simply finishing that tough class, or even getting through a difficult test or quiz could be your immediate, more achievable goal.
The point is to remember that you’ve set out to accomplish something big and something that will have a lifelong, positive impact. Recognize that you can’t get there without getting past several smaller hurdles first. Identify what those milestones are, and focus on accomplishing those goals as a part of your larger goal.
2) Celebrate small milestones and successes
When you do make it past those milestones or smaller goals, don’t forget to celebrate a little! You worked hard and accomplished something important that has gotten you that much closer to success. Personally, when I’ve reached a small milestone, I like to treat myself to a dinner with a few friends. Or, if time or budget won’t allow, maybe I’ll watch an hour or two of my favorite TV shows, without worrying about what else needs to get done. The point is to take the time to recognize your achievements, even if they’re small. You’re one step closer to the finish line, and that’s absolutely worth a small pat on the back.
3) Don’t use small setbacks as an excuse to quit
Setbacks are going to happen. Family and work commitments and priorities can get in the way of the “other” things you are working toward. Financial setbacks can stop you dead in your tracks. Even a small head cold can get you out of a beneficial routine. These things happen to everyone, but the people who are able to stay strong, refocus and keep moving forward are the people who end up achieving goals. When setbacks occur, more often than not they are just a speed bump along your path to success. Keep perspective, learn from your mistakes, and don’t’ be afraid to ask for help if you need it. The setbacks typically end up making the end result that much sweeter.
4) Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing
Your goals might be really big, but that also means achieving them will be HUGE. Don’t let yourself forget that. Envision where you want to be, and post reminders around your house about what you’re working toward. Tell your friends and family why you have set these goals, and ask for their ongoing support. When you feel a little unmotivated, or you’re experiencing a setback, take a few minutes to read about that dream job you’d love to have, or that better life you’re working toward. There’s a reason you’ve set the bar high…don’t allow yourself to forget why you’re doing what you’re doing.
5) Remember that you’re in control
We all have a lot of commitments – your job, your kids, a mortgage, car payments, schedules, friends, your significant other…the list can be seemingly endless, and its easy to become stressed out, or even feel helpless about the day-to-day commitments in your life. But at the end of the day, we all control what we do and how we react to the things that happen to us. It’s a powerful feeling to recognize that fact. We all have the ability to modify our budgets, priorities, timelines, and schedules to make time for the things that are truly important to us. The goal may take a little longer than you expected, or it might not take the exact path you had in mind, but there is always a way to finish what you’ve started.
Follow these five tips, and you’ll be better prepared to reach those long-term goals. Do you have your own tips? Please share them in the comments below.