As we are still very much in the beginning of 2017, the idea and pressure of making changes and achieving new heights is very much in the air. Last week I touched on how to stick to certain goals you may have set for yourself. I mentioned that segmenting the goal into smaller daily or weekly goals may help it seem less overwhelming. For instance, if you are learning English, set small daily goals, like learning 2 or 3 new words every day and using them in a sentence.

Goals are often easier to reach when you tell someone what you are trying to achieve. This will create a sense of accountability in your mind, especially if the said person asks for an update every now and then.

Setting and sticking to your goals can be a tiring exercise and at times you will need to give yourself a day off. If you are in Cape Town or Oxford to learn English and you are doing your best to converse solely in English 24 hours a day, perhaps give yourself a break every once in a while. Set up a Skype meeting with a family member and enjoy speaking in your mother tongue for a while. Your brain will need the rest and some time to restore itself.

From my experience, I have noted that students who come to our school and make friends fast tend to be more successful. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will help you in realising that your goal is within reach. ‘If others can do it, so can I’. There is a certain human comfort in struggling towards the same goal together. If you are spending time with fellow students who are also learning how to pronounce new words and memorise grammar rules, you may find it easier to share your thoughts and ideas and actually help each other.

A big factor in setting and achieving goals is to make progress. It might be slow and steady, but knowing that you are moving forward is very important. Find a way of tracking your progress, every now and then go back to the ‘beginning’ and see how far you have come. Go back and read an extract from the first pages of your book and see if it seems easier to you now than on the first day you started.

Finally, reward yourself for the small progressions you make. You should be proud of yourself and believe in your abilities to reach your goals. If you add all these tips together I am sure you will look back on 2017 as a successful year. Whether you reached your initial goal or changed paths completely and set off in a different direction, just keep moving!