New Year’s Resolutions. Or how to get things done using bullet points and pictures

2015 is almost over. Exams are coming up and everyone sets their ambitions high and catches up with revision. A new year is around the corner, bringing new challenges, new friends, new tasks and for some, the much awaited graduation. A new year is a new beginning, as people like to say.

It is around this time of year when people put their future ambitions down on paper:

getting a gym membership, quit smoking, reading more or losing weight.

Well, we all know what usually happens to those plans…. If they are lucky, they could end up in a hidden-away drawer somewhere in your student accommodation.

In this article I want to share my experience on how to actually get those New Year Resolutions done. It’s not a complicated process, but it does require a bit of commitment and around 30 days of creating a custom :). I’m also going to share my Academic Year’s resolutions for my first year which could hopefully inspire you to get some objectives in place and stick to them.

So, to get it started, the first thing you need is…..

  1. 20-45 minutes of time by yourself
    download (3)Find a quiet place, a piece of paper and a pen. Depending on how you find it easier, either do a bullet point list or a mind map with the main things you’d like toachieve this year.Let’s say you want to really win a competition with the trampolining team or get a 2:1 across your modules. Keep it uni related or go beyond that, it’s up to you.I personally have two different resolution lists because I don’t really think objectives like “Save money for a trip to Amsterdam” and “Passing Accounting and Finance with a decent enough grade to look at yourself with respect afterwards” look nice under the same paragraph.
  2. Keep it SMART (yes, that buzzword again)
    Everyone keeps mentioning this word, but it’s actually quite helpful in keeping you on track and helping you realize when you have actually finished a task. It might seem straight-forward, but non- SMART objectives can never really be finalized. For example, saying something like “Do the reading for Accounting” doesn’t tell you when that task can be ticked as achieved. What reading are you referring to? How often do you need to read? What is your goal in doing that?As a reminder, SMART stands for “Specific”, “Measurable”, “Achievable”, “Realistic/Relevant” and “Time-bound”.For example, for a Specific objective, instead of saying “I want to get a good grade in most modules” (Which modules? What represents a good grade for you?) you can say “ I want to get at least 75% in my Marketing modules”.
  3. Look for matching pictures for each objective
    One of my favourite parts. Selecting the suitable pictures. Go for something that is both relevant and slightly funny if you can. The picture above is something I used in this year’s resolution about the relationships with my professional mentors 🙂
  4. Keep it visible
    Up to this stage, everyone can do it. But here comes the real challenge: actually reminding yourself of your objectives throughout the year.In order to do this, I print out my list (A3 and in colour, don’t save money on this one!) and put it somewhere visible in my room. Also, I write it down at the beginning of my diary and put it on my G Drive as well.
  5. Follow up
    The next step is to check your progress frequently. If your Wednesday afternoon is free, use a couple of minutes then to reflect on what you’ve done that week towards your goals. You can even jot down a couple of reflective words. Trust me, it helps! And if you own a diary, you can even schedule some reflection time in there especially for this. Everyone’s busy, but it helps to slow down and really reflect on what you’re learning.


So as promised, here is my Academic Year’s Resolution for 2014-2015. I can say it worked quite well, since I managed to achieve most of the things in there (all the ones in green, to be more exact).


I’d really be interested to know how you keep track of the objectives you set for yourself. Do you use diaries, planners, big wall calendars? Please don’t let me think I’m the only productivity-obsessed individual around here, comment below!  🙂

Thanks for reading,


Theodora Negrea is a second year BSc (Hons) Human Resource Management student at the University of Bradford

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