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How to make and keep New Year's resolutions?

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2014-01-08 11:46:38 - Almost 50% of people make a new year’s resolution of some sort. A good resolution for students and graduates may be “I will find an internship that will jump-start my career”. There are a few simple steps to follow in order to improve chances of success.

Do You Really Want It?
Although it may sound good or make impression on friends and relatives the resolution has to come from within. Many people admit that they make resolutions because of pressure although they don’t really want to change their life in any way.

”Before making a New Year's resolution , it’s good to ask yourself if this is what you want and why you want it” – says Bartosz Zyla, co-founder at, a website which aggregates internship offers from all over the world.

The second step should be to ask oneself what should the change look like and how to make it happen. Various research results show that a great amount of failing resolutions come from not

being specific enough.

A Smart Method
To ensure success, apart from being motivated and determined, people should follow certain rules. These rules are explained and demonstrated by means of a method called SMART. Its name is an acronym for the words that describe what should the objective look like.
S for Simple – This means that the objective is described in a way which will not be confusing when it comes to the desired result. Instead of: “I will improve my professional status”, it’s better to say “I will change my job” or even “I will work for the XYZ company”.
M for Measurable – Getting a job is not that confusing. But when it comes to success determined by how much of something we get, this rule is very useful. Breaking down the major goal into smaller objectives, will make it easier to measure the progress. This means “Send three applications to potential employers every week” is better that “I will send as many applications as possible”.
A for Ambitious and R for Realistic – These two should always go together. It’s good to aim high, but the target has to be within reach.
T for Time-bound – It’s best to measure the quantity or quality against time. Deadline for the major goal is almost always a year, but there must be a deadline for each of the milestones you need to set up as well.

One Step at a Time
Setting the milestones is crucial. Most of the goals have sequence of tasks, so therefore it’s not possible to do everything at the same time. For better motivation, one can plan a small reward for completing a milestone.

"It’s much more effective and efficient to break down your aims and objectives into small chunks. You will achieve best results when those “chunks” can be completed in less than a week – says Bartosz Zyla. – Since we are talking about getting an internship, the milestones can include: “update your CV”, “register to three offer-aggregating websites”, “make a wish-list of employers”, “call four employers from the wish-list” etc.” – he explains.

Accept Support and Track Your Progress
Sharing the goal with family and relatives is important in the process of its completion. Their support is crucial, especially when obstacles arise. For many people, it can help to overcome small failures and regain the outlook on the big picture.

Even though somebody fails for a moment, it is only their own choice to quit or get back. Thinking of the future gains is vital. One bad day should not ruin the whole-year’s planned effort.
A good way to maintain motivation is to keep a journal. If one keeps the record of all achievements, it’s easy to see how big is the progress so far. This is a great motivator. And it’s worth underlining that keeping a journal does not necessarily mean writing stories. It’s enough to note down: “I sent three applications to potential employers from my wish-list”.

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