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How to set achievable personal development new year’s resolutions

How to set achievable personal development new year's resolutions

Set Realistic Personal New Year’s Resolutions 

We are all creatures of habit. We know that change can be daunting but every year we promise ourselves that we’ll do better next year. We’ll go to the gym, we’ll go on a diet, or we’ll drink more water. But come January, life gets busy again and all our good intentions take a back seat. “I just don’t have the time” and the famous “I’ll start on Monday” are excuses we are all too familiar with.

Failure is eminent if the goals we set are not realistic and aren’t carefully planned as part of a long-term personal development plan. In fact, if we analyse this issue a little closer, change is the real obstacle. It’s never easy to break old habits and take ourselves outside of our comfort zones. However, if we want to achieve our 2020 goals, learning to embrace change is important.

Kurt Lewin developed a change model involving three steps: unfreezing, changing and refreezing. … For Lewin, the process of change entails creating the perception that a change is needed, then moving toward the new, desired level of behaviour and finally, solidifying that new behaviour as the norm. We can easily apply this simple process to our 2020 personal development plan.

Here are some of the best personal development new year’s resolutions you can set for next year and a few tips on how to achieve them.

The do’s and don’ts of setting your new year’s resolutions

Now’s a good time to grab a notebook and pen, you are going to want to write some of these down:


  • Make a list of all your goals: From most to least important. This will help you to get the most important things out of the way first. It might be tempting to tackle all your resolutions at once, but this will just overwhelm you and is often the reason why people abandon their new year’s resolutions after two weeks.
  • Start small (seriously): If your goal is to lose some weight, don’t aim to lose everything at once. Instead, break it down into chunks. The same applies to fitness. If you have been a couch potato throughout the winter months, don’t expect to run a 10km marathon. Start by getting off the couch and walking around the block. No, not the one you kick back under the bed.
  • Be realistic: Don’t aim to save half of your salary each month when there are bills to be paid. Not reaching this goal will just demotivate you entirely. Rather give up something that you don’t really need. Like the Netflix subscription that feeds your unhealthy couch potato lifestyle, or the Friday night pizza that is counterproductive to your weight loss goals. Then put that money into a savings fund.
  • Be specific: instead of saying that you want to travel, decide where you want to travel to. Then do some research to find out how you can get there. Be bold enough to set the date and pay a deposit. That way you are committed, and you will make it happen.


  • Be too hard on yourself: Remember that tripping up from time to time is part of the process. So, if you eat an extra cookie, don’t abandon your diet completely. Accept it as a backslide and make up for it by walking a bit further.
  • Compromise: Peer pressure is often the reason we give up on our goals. Stand your ground and learn to say no to your friends. Just because you aren’t eating unhealthy foods does not make you boring. Stick to your plan, your friends will respect you for it and you may even encourage them to do the same.
  • Expect instant results: As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” – but they were laying bricks every hour. As long as you are moving forward towards your goal, you are bound to get there. Reward yourself whenever you take a step toward your goal, regardless of how big or small.

It’s time to lay some bricks

Setting goals requires careful attention to detail. You want to avoid vague, sweeping statements like “I want to travel” or “I want to lose weight”. Rather, your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Also think about the desired outcome and what you need to do to meet those goals.

Here is an example of a SMART goal

“I want to lose 10kg in the next 12 months by eating healthier foods and exercising daily.”

Here are six fresh new year’s resolutions that may inspire you to improve your life:

  • Learn a new skill: It’s always a good idea to learn something new. Use this opportunity to better yourself by developing workplace skills with an IMM Online Short Course.
  • Stop procrastinating: We’ve all been guilty of this, but now is as good a time as any to be more productive.
  • Finish something you started: Remember that puzzle you started building and never finished? Or that book you never finished reading? Well, this is a good time to do it.
  • Become your own brand: Become a brand by learning how to better present yourself to people. The IMM Graduate Schools’ The Brand of You online short course will teach you how to conduct yourself with more presence, professionalism, and confidence.
  • Take some time off: This may seem small, but studies show that taking regular breaks can improve productivity – even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
  • Last but not least, furthering your studies is the ultimate new year’s resolution, so why not make this the first thing you tick off the list? With the IMM Graduate School you can study from anywhere at your own pace. Just like the building of Rome, if you start now, you will eventually graduate with a higher certificate, diploma or degree.

Start your career, or if you’re already working, boost your career with an internationally recognised qualification from the IMM Graduate School. Applications for 2020 are now open! https://imm.ac.za/