Earlier this month a friend of mine told me about #18for2018 an approach that encourages setting new years resolutions you actually intend to keep. Its pretty common when new year rolls around for each of us to set one or two huge and extreme goals: stop eating all chocolate, go to the gym every day etc. (they may not be extreme for everyone, but they certainly would be for me). 18 for 2018 encourages you to set 18 smaller, more manageable goals that you are committed to achieving.
I love the principle behind this idea, and it aligns blog I wrote previously on
of consistent 1% improvements. This concept also reminded me of the not-so-strenuous new
years resolutions I set myself a few years ago which included learning how
to cook veggie lasagne and to finish watching the Lost TV box-set (both
satisfyingly checked off the list now).
I love the idea of setting goals in both the positive and future focused context.
Rather than deciding that you need to lose the weight gained over a few too
many turkeys over Christmas, focus on what habits you want to create in the
future. This could be taking up a new sport, eating more home-cooked and
healthy meals, or a combination of both. I recently read and loved The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg,
which argues that habits can be so deeply and subconsciously ingrained in
us, they are impossible to simply stop they need to be replaced with
alternative, more useful habits.
One of my favourite coaches Steve Chandler recommends a no-nonsense, systematic
approach to change. If you dont like the result or output youre creating, you
need to change the system generating these results. This approach can be
particularly relevant to graduate job seekers suffering the pain of the
inevitable rejections that are common when trying to land an internship or
graduate programme at their dream company.
Whether your new year goal is to receive an internship offer, boost your grade average
from a 2:2 to a 2:1, or simply start to get to know companies better to prepare
for applications next year, goal setting is important. It provides focus,
structure, and encouragement to keep going one step at a time even when
rejections and disappointments come our way.
Here are my top 5 tips for setting effective and long-lasting
goals for 2018:
1. Keep them positive and future focused Focus on what you want to
do, create, start and continue. If you want to stop something, think about what
you can replace the habit with. Try (where possible) to make the goals fun and
2. Reflect on your why Think about the motivation behind
your goals, and only set goals you are committed to keeping.
3. Create accountability Share your goals with a coach, a
friend, or a colleague. Find others who have set similar goals for 2018 and to
offer each other encouragement.
4. Be specific and write it down One of my
favourite statistics is that were 42% more likely to do stuff that we write
down. This makes sense just as youd write a shopping list before you go to
the shop, write down your goals to remind yourself of your commitments.
5. Break into smaller goals If you have a big
ambitious goal for 2018, break it down into smaller, mini goals. I would argue
the smaller the better. Set specific targets for milestones throughout the year
to keep you engaged and committed.
And finally remember goals dont have to be all or nothing. If you arent
happy with progress towards your goals, start again. Try and view each separate
day as an opportunity to make change happen, and dont use past behaviour to
set your future expectations
Hannah Salton worked in corporate graduate recruitment for 8 years before becoming a
career coach and consultant. She is passionate about enabling people to achieve
their career goals in the hope that they will love their career as much as she