Creating New Year's 'realutions' Featured

10:12am EDT December 22, 2004
Whether you plan to start a business or earn a promotion -- two of the most popular New Year's resolutions in 2004 -- chances are you will be making some business-related promises to yourself as we enter 2005.

Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against keeping these yearly pacts. CNN recently reported that in 2004, nearly 30 percent of "resolutioners" did not stay on track through February, and only 20 percent of the 12,000 respondents kept their resolutions for six months.

Why are sustained resolutions more elusive than an available cash register the day after Thanksgiving? Often, it is the types of goals set. They, like so many flawed business plans, tend to be more focused on results than on implementation.

Getting ahead by going back -- to school

Working adults should make their professional resolutions a reality by going back to school.

A number of universities now enable educational achievement by offering flexible course options. Most important, they focus on applicable, real-world business situations to develop a more successful learning environment for busy adults.

The following are tips on how to keep one of the most important personal promises you'll ever make -- to further your education.

* Stay focused. While fear of the unknown is normal, do not misinterpret it as a signal to not pursue an education. Personal and professional growth rarely occurs without the presence of anxiety and doubt. Remember that this is a life-altering choice and will take quite a bit of finesse and planning.

* Master time management. For working adults pursuing degrees, time management is an art form. Day organizers, weekly action plans and monthly calendars help efficiently maximize your time and establish an effective routine.

* Make prioritizing a priority. All the to-do lists in the world are not going to help if you don't strategically organize your tasks based on importance and deadlines. Start by setting sustainable mini-goals when tackling large projects and focus on immediate tasks to avoid being intimidated by the big picture. Most important, avoid procrastination.

* Seek supervisor support. Explain to your managers your reasoning for going back to school and how it will potentially benefit the company. Many supervisors will help you plan a more flexible work schedule. Plus, they might offer to help financially or know of a corporate program that provides student loans. If you are a supervisor, be open to such propositions and remain aware of the value of a highly educated work force.

* Get wired. In the past, staying wired meant drinking large amounts of coffee when pulling an all-night study session, but not any more. From electronic organizers to online learning tools, the digital world is revolutionizing how time-crunched professionals manage their hectic workload. Many schools now offer Internet-based textbooks and provide a plethora of instructional modules online. These tools enable students to delve deeper into the subjects they are studying, molding them into intentional learners.

* Make an educated decision. The No. 1 mistake adult students make is enrolling in a program that does not mesh with their lifestyle. Look for a school that caters to working professionals, preferably by offering night and weekend courses while utilizing online learning options.

If you want to make your professional New Year's resolution into a realution, these tips should be a helpful starting point. Remember, the best way to turn over a new leaf this year might be by turning the pages of a course catalog at a university near you.

Simon Lumley is vice-president of Indiana operations and Indianapolis campus director for the University of Phoenix. University of Phoenix offers accessible higher education options uniquely tailored for Indianapolis' working business professionals. Contact him at (317) 585-8610 or simon.lumley@phoenix.edu. For more information log onto www.phoenix.edu