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How to Make Fail-Proof Education Resolutions in 2013

Feb 5, 2013 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

If you’re frustrated with making New Years’ resolutions, you’re not alone. It’s more common for people to break their resolutions than keep them. However, your education goals for 2013 are too important to treat lightly. Here are a few tips for making resolutions for 2013—that will raise your chances of accomplishing them this year.

Break big tasks down into small steps

Maybe one of your big goals for this year is to get into a top college. That’s a big goal—and it can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially as the deadline for applications draws closer. 

But every big, audacious goal is made up of many smaller steps. Take your biggest, most ambitious goal and write it at the top of a piece of paper. Then write down all the steps you need to take to get there. Underneath each of those steps, write out the steps you need to take to accomplish those…until you have a very long list of very small, easy steps. Once you’ve done that, you have small tasks you can accomplish every day or every week—to move yourself incrementally closer to your goal as the year progresses.

See Also: Accredited Online Colleges and Universities

Think “too small to fail.”

It can be tempting—and empowering—to set big goals. But most of the time, big goals don’t work. They can be overwhelming to even start. And if you don’t accomplish them, it can be demoralizing.

That’s why it’s important to think “too small to fail” when setting your goals. Don’t change your ambitions—but break down big goals into the smallest steps you can. If you don’t get to a small step this week, no problem—just do it next week, or over the weekend, or whenever you have time. Keeping your focus on the smaller steps will keep you from getting overwhelmed and demoralized.

See Also: Online Courses and Certifications

Think about what you really want

Are you sure you really want to go to a traditional or accredited online college—or is what you really want a promotion? Maybe you think you need a degree for that promotion, but if you look into it further, you may find that equivalent work experience, the right connections, and a few new certifications can replace the right degree. When considering your goals, think carefully about what you really want—and do your research to see if this is really the best way to get there.

See Also: Online Degree Programs

Think about what’s realistic

Maybe your big goal is to get into Harvard. Dreaming big is great—but be sure you have some solid backup schools in mind. When considering your education goals for this year, think about whether what you want is realistic for you. If not, you might want to scale it down—to see if it’s possible to get to what you really want some other way, or see if you should stretch your big goal out to two years

Don’t just list tasks

List people. Nobody succeeds alone. Don’t just break down your big goal into a list of smaller, more easily manageable tasks. Write down the names of people who can help you accomplish those tasks. Maybe it’s your friend who’s an alum from your top-choice school; your boss who may be able to help you access the company’s tuition reimbursement program; or your spouse, who could take the kids off your hands while you study. Include in your list the people who might help you accomplish strategic goals—and what to ask them.

Don’t worry about past failures

One of the most challenging parts of setting goals is that all your past failures can drag you down—and make you feel demoralized before you even begin. Don’t let that happen this year. 2013 is a new year, full of promise and possibility—and with careful consideration and consistent effort, it could be the year you meet all of your goals.



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