As one year ends and another begins, most of us take the chance to reflect on what’s gone – and think ahead. We count our blessings and commit ourselves to make positive changes in the new year… Which truthfully sounds a bit exhausting after another challenging year for everyone around the world as we cope with the effects of Covid-19 on how we live, work and play.
The global pandemic has affected every part of our lives, most of them not-so-great! We’ve had to change how we learn, socialise, do business, even how we live together. Up to 40% of people in Europe and the USA started working from home full-time. Thousands of people lost their jobs in big industries like travel, hospitality and live entertainment as people stopped travelling. Socialising, hunger and unemployment got worse, especially amongst poorer populations. Lastly, masks and sanitiser went onto everyone’s shopping lists.
Good and better health is probably on everyone’s ‘resolution list’ this year – for themselves and their communities.
But do resolutions actually help us make real, positive changes? Can we make a resolution stick, especially when it comes to measurable achievements like a new job or a change in careers?
RESOLUTION VS GOAL: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Having good health, being happy, and being successful is usually among the top ten resolutions that people set as goals. Each year, nearly all of us promise ourselves that we’re going to do better and make positive changes in our lives.
We tend to be open-ended or general in how we describe our resolutions – I’m going to: ‘exercise more, get higher marks, earn more, eat healthier, lose my temper less…’ and so on. A resolution is a promise we make to ourselves about an overall change we want to make.
When we set a goal, we are usually a lot more specific – I’m going to: ‘lose 5kg, get that promotion, save for that trip, buy a car. A goal has an end, with a clear objective, and you know when you have achieved it.
A resolution is an idea, a goal is the specific thing you work towards that will make your idea, your resolution, come true.
We make both personal and professional resolutions, but achieving our professional goals usually involves other people and organisations. Because of this, our goals will have more details and structure. For example, you need to find out what qualifications you need, what companies work in the sector, and so on, to find how to reach your goal.
KICKSTARTING YOUR CAREER WITH NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
If your New Year’s resolution is to become a first responder like a paramedic, you need to identify the specific goals, or achievements, it will take to become qualified – the courses of study, the driving qualifications you need, and what outside support you can get, like bursaries or study-leave.
If we want our resolutions to last, we need to do the work of breaking them down into goals, or specific targets that we can reach.
SETTING GOALS – IT’S IN THE DETAILS & DRAWINGS
There are thousands of online articles about how to set goals, and most of them have similar advice – be specific in what you want then break your goals down into steps. Visualise achieving your goal, be prepared to make mistakes, find and use personal and professional support systems, and keep going.
There is clear scientific evidence that physically writing down your resolutions and goals helps you to achieve them, so get old-school. Take pen to paper and write down your resolutions for this year, along with the specific and individual goals that match your resolution.
MAPPING YOUR GOALS WITH A MIND MAP
As you start listing the various things you need to do to reach your goals, it is also very useful to mind-map your list – or draw a picture of your list. With your final aim at the centre, you link and surround the centre with the elements you need to reach your goal. Instead of a long list, you create a colourful, creative picture that builds and structures information in a similar way to how your brain organises information.
A mind map also lets you add details without losing focus on your central goal. There are a number of ways to become a paramedic in South Africa, and there are different levels of qualification. Your mind-map can include all those details of the various ways and requirements to reach your final goal, which is always at the centre. Unlike a long list, you can see the big picture – and all the details at the same time. (Mind maps often look like messy flowers and literal maps.)
RESOLUTIONS AND GOALS ARE ABOUT MAKING CHANGES
It is said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” (most people think Einstein said this first, but it probably wasn’t him, and more than anything, making resolutions and setting goals is about wanting to change something about our lives for the better).
Finding our way to a new place only works if we know where we are starting from. Use your mind map to help you identify the skills, training and support resources you already have or still need to get. One of the qualifications you need to be a paramedic is a Code 10 driver’s license. If you don’t have one, you need to learn more and change what you can do. Even if you drive 100,000km with a Code 8 license, you won’t change the result – you are not qualified to be a paramedic.
Change can be exciting, scary, challenging, frustrating and even boring. We get used to doing, thinking and feeling certain ways – which have all resulted in where we are right now. If we want to change where we are, we also have to change what we do and the way we do things, which is never easy.
The past few years have forced big changes on all of us. They helped us make our own resolutions and clear goals for the year ahead. Using proven ways to help us stick to them will reduce our stress, give us direction and focus, and help us achieve the changes we want.
WHY RESOLVE ON A CAREER IN HEALTH, NOW.
What the last few years have made crystal clear is how important our health and well-being is. We need good personal health, healthy communities, as well as strong and properly resourced healthcare systems and workers for us all to be able to live and prosper.
Working in health and wellness gives you the chance to build toward a long-lasting and in-demand career. There is a huge variety of jobs to suit all personalities, it offers stable employment and good employment structures in these volatile times, as well as the satisfaction and fulfilment of knowing that you’re working in an industry critically necessary for everyone to live their best life.
Choosing a career in the health industry right now – or choosing to stay and grow in your career – might seem like a crazy resolution to make. However, why do we make resolutions in the first place? We want to change something we’re not happy with, we want to make our lives better, and hopefully be happier and more prosperous.