A study by the University of Scranton states that 45% of Americans usually make New Year Resolutions. However, only 8% of that group achieved success on those resolutions. With a track record demonstrating such a dismal success rate, it is easy to understand why anyone would not bother to make resolutions.
If one follows the logic that making personal resolutions are doomed to failure, then making resolutions for your continuing education program would be equally as doomed. But would they? Resolutions are basically just another form of goal setting, and haven’t you been setting goals for your program almost annually anyway? The answer to that question is hopefully a big YES.
So let’s look at resolutions for your CE program a little differently. Outside from the enrollment goals, revenue targets, and marketing efforts you may normally set and strive to reach, let’s consider some resolutions for you in relation to your CE program. And as a precursor, your job title really does not matter for these four resolutions either. From instructors to program managers, each can benefit from the exercises and ultimately, the program benefits also.
Resolution 1: Write Down the One Ultimate Desired Outcome
There is no doubt that your CE program probably has numerous outcomes you would love to see successfully completed each year. It is possible that your compensation could even be tied back to those goals. But what is the one all-encompassing desire outcome for your program?
Maybe the desire is “students will be employed” or “students will successfully complete their classes”. Alternatively, maybe the desire is that “the community benefitted”. These are all valid and respected desires. I often think of this one ultimate desired outcome as being the one thing that if it came true, I would successfully find myself out of a job and satisfied.
Now take a sheet of paper from a large presentation pad and write that desire on that paper. Make it big enough for you to see every day from where you sit at your job. But leave some room, also. Post it where you can see this and read it aloud every day. But don’t let it end there. One or two times each month, write the same words on that same page again, but write it differently. Try a different pen or different size font. And don’t stop. Do this all year, and you will not forget this one overall focus.
Resolution 2: Remind Yourself Why You Work Here
Did you choose your job or did your job choose you? You may think the second statement is likely, but consider how all your efforts over time brought you to where you are now. Likely you will probably see you chose your job and for good reason.
Locate a private place you can write down these reasons. They mean something to you. These are the shields that protect you when you have a bad day and the foundation blocks to build you back up when plans don’t go the way you would like. Read them often. Cherish why you wrote them down. Use them as a tool to regain strength when the earth seems to be shaking around you.
Resolution 3: Reduce Your Workload
Plain and simple, I want to work less. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean I don’t want to work. I just want less of it because way too much of what gets done on any given day doesn’t seem to fit Resolution 1 and Resolution 2. Yes, I did write that. I even said it aloud although you were not present to hear me say it. And I mean it. I don’t want to do any more work that does not fit into both of the first two resolutions.
Now that may be a very general and nice resolution to set. It may even sound way too good to be true. But analyze it for a moment. If every Friday afternoon before I left my job I wrote down the one thing I did that week that did not fit into one of those two resolutions, then at the end of the year I would have 52 tasks I won’t have to do anymore. If I did the task, and there was little or no benefit, then why did I waste my time?
So I won’t perform that task anymore. And instead, I am going to replace it with a task that does fit both of my first two resolutions. And as a result, I will likely do them better and probably be much more successful and enjoyable at the same time.
Just try it. For a few weeks, every Friday identify that one task from that week that does not fit and wastes your time and effort. Write it down. Don’t do it anymore. Watch how fast you will replace it with efforts that are more meaningful and successful. And save your list. At the end of the year you will be surprised and pleased.
Resolution 4: Go Home
At the end of your day, it could not be any simpler than that. Go home. And when you get there, let your brain find a different focus. This by far is the most difficult of the resolutions, but not impossible. It takes effort.
I will freely admit that I wake some nights with some work task clearly keeping me from sleeping. Like a roulette wheel, the task just seems to spin and spin but the little ball seems to take too long to find one slot to stop and rest in. The brain never seems to rest. It always seems to be spinning.
For those with extensive hobbies and past times, you know exactly what to do. Maybe you might call it retargeting your brain or in a simpler form, creating a distraction. In either case, gain the skills of an illusionist and train your brain to go other places when you get home. You just may find your brain finds whole new solutions to problems and issues at work because you took a different focus when not at work.