New Year’s Resolutions and how to make them work!
A happy new year! It’s 2023. Another year over, a new one just begun. And what have we done? Well, for many people January 1st is the turning of a fresh page, a new chapter in the book of us. A fresh start and a chance to rethink our goals, ambitions and objectives.
As an English language teacher, I often see friends and colleagues who are not native English speakers, make a promise (a new year’s resolution) to learn and improve their language skills. Often it is the case they have simply not had the time, opportunity or motivation to use English and they have become rusty (out of practice). It is time for them to ‘brush up’ their English – time to practice and improve.
Why should December 31st and January 1st be so inherently different? Why do we feel so renewed and motivated as the clock ticks from 11:59pm to 12am. What a difference a minute makes!
I believe that we all have an internal optimism, that we all have good intentions and a desire to make positive changes in our lives and in the lives of those close to us. January 1st, the new year is a proverbial ‘kick up the backside’ – we feel the urge to get on and do things we intended to do previously, but never got around to. Making new year’s resolutions is a way of committing ourselves to change, signalling that we have goals, motivations and intention. And that makes us feel good.
For a short while anyway.
How long does the intention last? How long do people last before the resolutions are no long resolutions, but broken promises? A few days, a week? In my case I didn’t even get started on my resolution to RED (run everyday in January). Did I feel a tinge of guilt? Yes, but listening to my body and my achy knees I realised it was not a realistic goal. to run everyday would just put undue strain on my knees that have already undergone three operations. So I revised my goal. Run when you can, but be AED (active everyday). Walking as much as possible, cycling, making sure you get out and have fresh air as often as possible.
It is the same with setting a goal to learn or improve your English. Be realistic. If your goal is to take and pass the Cambridge Advanced Examination by February and your level is still at the intermediate stage, it is not practical or possible to achieve this in such a short time. You need to set realistic goals and expectations, e.g
‘By June I will feel much more confident to use English in all situations (work, travel, education, conversation). I will take regular classes and set aside time to self study each week (1-2 hours). By June I expect to be more fluent, have a wider range of vocabulary and better grammar and pronunciation.’
Now that is achievable. Something you can work towards, monitor progress and feel good about as you make progress.
You could set a specific language goal. e.g.
‘I will work towards and deliver a presentation in English at work – target 3-4 months’ or ‘I will have a 30 minute Zoom call in English with a friend and try not to use dictionaries or online translation.’
So set your goals, make your new year resolutions, but be honest and realistic. Choose goals that you can achieve and WANT to achieve. Something that motivates you, makes you feel good, empowered and positive. Share your goals with friends and colleagues, they will be invested and happy to support you.
If you would like to improve your English, for education, for work or for general conversation / travel etc. I have availability and am always happy to take on new students. My courses are designed to be flexible to your needs. I teach classes that are fun, professional and are stress free. I make learning a language a pleasure, motivating and enjoyable – but with real outcomes. You will learn and improve when you learn with me at frobisherenglish.com
Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Now, you may ask, what are MY new year’s resolutions? Good question. Here they are in no particular order.
- AED – be active everyday, stay fit and healthy
- Write a new collection of poetry for charity
- Start writing my next novel
- Continue to try to get my first two novels published!
- Enter writing competitions (novels and poetry)
- Develop and grow frobisherenglish.com
- Read 52 books in 2023, 1 book every week
- Be positive, kind and helpful – always
- Take on a new fundraising challenge for charity
- Not worry so much about things I can’t control
Best wishes for a happy, successful and positive new year and throughout 2023!
Tony Frobisher, English Language Teacher, Trainer