Making Your New Year’s Resolution a Reality

Steps to Achieving common

If you set a New Year’s Resolution like around 40% of the US population last week, you’re most likely still on track, so congrats on how well you’re (probably) doing!  Since we have your dedication to your goals, we thought it’d be a good time to pitch some ideas on help you stick it out and fulfill your resolution!

Resolution #1: I want to have more money

This one seems like the obvious one for IowaWORKS to help you with, because we have a number of free classes in our office dedicated to helping you find employment and increase your skills to broaden your earning potential.  If you’re currently unemployed or underemployed, IowaWORKS wants to help with that!

If that is your resolution, our first suggestion is sign up for our one-week Job Readiness classes.  These classes teach participants about how to handle change, resume writing, job interviews, networking, soft skills in the workplace, and Money Management.

If you can’t take off for a full week to attend classes, we have individual workshops that might suit your specific need, or our Skills Floor is staffed daily by workers that will help you build a professional resume and weed through online job applications.  If you can’t make it into our building, you can still practice interview skills on InterviewStream!  Answer normal interview questions into a webcam or your phone’s camera and then play them back to judge how you’re doing!

If you have a job that pays well enough but just don’t have money left over at the end of month, try Envelope Budgeting, as explained by Dave Ramsey –  https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/dave-ramseys-envelope-system/

Resolution #2: I want to go back to school

A few programs that you might be interested in looking into could include:

  • Did you know that Iowans no longer study for a GED? The GED was replaced by HiSET (High School Equivalence Testing) in Iowa.  If you want to receive your High School Equivalency Degree, there will be orientations at IHCC campuses in February.  In the Ottumwa area or for information about schedules in satellite campuses, contact the Community Education Center at 641-683-5189.
  • The PACE Program and the GAP Tuition Assistance Program at IHCC are two programs that can help you with the cost of some college training! The PACE program can help students who meet certain guidelines with costs associated with college including child care, transportation costs, tuition, books, and career needs, while GAP Tuition Assistance can pay for tuition for eligible students in approved continuing education, non-credit, certificate training programs that are in-demand.  For more information or to download an application, check out the link above.
  • If you aren’t sure what programs you’re interested in, are worried about the FAFSA application, or have had some issues with student loans, I’d strongly recommend the Educational Opportunity Center on the IHCC Main Campus. They can help with all of those problems and several more.  Call to set up an appointment at 800-726-2585 ext. 5315.

 Resolution #3: I want to learn how to use computers

  • IowaWORKS-Southern Iowa holds a Free Basic Computer Skills class most Wednesdays from 1-3. Each student will be taught based on need, so it can be the perfect environment for someone that has never touched a computer or someone wanting to brush up on Microsoft Excel.
  • If you can’t make it to a class, GCF Learn Free is a great FREE resource online with lesson plans that will take you through setting up an e-mail, learning Windows, or working through Microsoft Office.

Whatever your resolution, there are plenty of resources out there to help get you in the right direction.  One of the best indicators for successful resolutions is to tell others about your goal, so just going to a resource and telling them your New Year’s goal will make you more likely to achieve it!

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Setting Goals for the New Year

Setting Good

The New Year’s Resolution goes back more than 4000 years, when Babylonians would make promises at the start of a new year to their gods in order to earn their favor for the following year.  They often promised to get out of debt, which is a good sign that the more things change, the more they stay the same!  A study by The University of Scranton says that about 62% of Americans make resolutions, yet 8% succeed consistently.  So if you’re making a New Year’s Resolution, let’s talk about some qualities it needs.

  • Conceivable – It needs to be a goal that you can identify, not something abstract. “Being a Nicer Person” is a great idea, but not a goal that you can necessarily figure out how to do on its own.  You should know what the first step of your resolution is and how you’re going to accomplish it. An easy test of this, if you told a stranger your resolution, would they know exactly what you meant?
  • Achievable – It has to be something you can do. If you’ve decided on a goal to win the lottery, this goal isn’t achievable.  You may believe you’re going to do it, but when you get to the end of the year with nothing to show for it but a pile of scratchers, you didn’t
  • Believable – This goes hand in hand with achievable, it has to be something you believe that you can do.  If you don’t believe you can accomplish it, you will immediately become the loudest voice telling you to ignore the goal, because it isn’t going to happen anyway.  Very rarely do people put in a lot of work on self-improvement to reach a goal that isn’t possible, because it’s hard to put in work if the reward isn’t believable.
  • Measurable – This goes to goals like “be happier”, how can you quantify that? How do you know if you were happier than you were last year?  If you want to be happier next year, make your resolution to start doing things that will make you happier.  You can measure if you did those things or not.  Another thing that goes with measurable is the idea of breaking a goal up into mini-goals.  Weight loss is the biggest New Year’s Resolution each year, but a goal to lose 100 pounds with no small successes in between becomes overwhelming.  Set a goal for each month, or for hours of exercise per week, or for eating more vegetables and fewer sweets, but don’t set a goal like “lose weight” without celebrating all the little milestones on the way to your big milestone.
  • Desirable – This one is the most obvious, if you set a goal you don’t actually want, you’ll probably fail at achieving it. No one is setting goals to be more sick next year, but there are goals like “move to management” for people that have no interest in being in management, it’s just the “next thing”.

New Year’s Resolutions are mostly a fun thing that people come up with quickly to celebrate the new opportunities that comes with another year.  If you want it to be more than that though, make sure it meets these requirements.