As January of 2016 comes to a close, you may be wondering where the first month of the new year went. Maybe your resolution to work out or eat healthy isn’t going as well as planned, or maybe your winter break to-do list didn’t quite get finished.
Do you feel a bit of a damper on your new year? Don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to prepare and plan for an efficient, improved new year. Set aside the pressure of new year’s resolutions and long lists of things to get done. Here are five tips to make 2016 the best it can be:
Reflect on last year
Keep in mind the wise words of Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Now that 2015 is fully behind you, you’re free to review. What are some things you’re proud of? Not proud of? Is there anything you did that you wish you hadn’t, or didn’t do that you wish you had? Keeping these things in mind as you head into 2016 will help refine your year.
Remember specific things you missed out on last year. Did you really want to go to that concert in August? Maybe you had planned to see the Macy’s Day Parade or the Fourth of July fireworks. Maybe you wish you’d applied to graduate school. Well, good news. You have another chance to do those things this year. Make a list of things you’d like to improve, whether that be an eating habit, a study pattern or making more time for yourself.
Set goals for your academic/professional career
Have you been hoping for a promotion? A raise? Are you looking to graduate with honors? Or receive a graduate school scholarship? Ask for help. Talk to your boss, advisors, or friends around you. 2016 is a year to take initiative, so go after what you want. Make a list of things you’ve been wanting to achieve in your professional or academic career, and come up with a plan to reach those goals. You don’t have to do this by yourself. Your boss, coworkers, fellow students, advisors, and professors are excellent resources. Their job is to help you learn and grow.
Maybe you’ve been meaning to go back to school for a while. You have a steady job but can’t get a pay raise because you don’t have the right degree, or you have a hidden passion that you want to pursue. Apply to schools. Most applications aren’t too expensive to fill out, and who knows, you could get offered a great scholarship!
Revise your resume
Do you still have your high school babysitting job listed? Are your references teachers and professors who may need a few minutes to remember you? Updating the information in your resume to include your recent job experiences, employers, and a refreshed skillset can help you take the next step in the job market.
You could also revamp the style of your resume to make it more visually appealing. Abandon the list format. Maybe put your text in colored boxes, include a picture of yourself or try some new graphic designs. A quick google search can give you resume formatting ideas.
If you’re looking to grow as a person, expand your horizons, become a better writer, have new adventures or meet different kinds of people, read. Whether you join a book club or read on your own, reading opens up a new world of ideas. Different genres can alter your perceptions and enhance your imagination. ("Hitchhiker’s Guide", anyone?)
If you normally read sci-fi, try realistic fiction, like Jodi Picoult’s “The Tenth Circle”. High-fantasy lovers, how about a modern classic? Ian McEwan’s “Atonement,” for example. Try some books that fit less comfortably into any genre, like Jon McGregor’s “If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things” or Dexter Palmer’s “The Dream of Perpetual Motion.” And if you’re not sure, here is a list of great books of 2015.
Don’t wait until December 1st to make 2016 your best year. There are plenty of things you can do throughout the year to make keep improving. Do you want to take a trip? Have you been thinking of interviewing for a job? Plan for these things well in advance. That way, the actual event will be less stressful than if you’d put it off to the last minute.
Make 2016 a year you’ll never forget. It’s only January, and there’s no limit to what you could do this year. 2016 is not a year for excuses, it’s a year for action-- so get out there and make this year the best it could possibly be!
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