How to make new year’s plans not just resolutions

Like most of us, you probably made some new year’s resolutions this year.  Some of you would have written these down, others of you would have just thought about these resolutions. And for most of us, new year’s resolutions are really hard to stick to… A more proven and effective way of making changes in your life is to make new year’s plans not just resolutions.

Read on to find out the next steps to take to make new year’s plans…

So what’s the difference between a plan and a resolution?











The challenge with new year’s resolutions, is that we often think that we will be able to make these things happen (or stop happening) by using willpower.

Even when history shows that probably willpower and just thinking about wanting to change something doesn’t usually result in long-term success.

A plan takes a resolution to the next level by determining a number of steps that need to be taken. In other words plans give you a course of action that you can follow that will give you a far greater chance of achieving your resolution.

So how do I go about making a plan?









Follow these steps for making a plan that will help you achieve your resolution:

  • Write down (either use pen and paper or type your plan on your computer) your resolution using the SMART method for goals. (Your resolutions need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based)
    • Example 1: If your resolution is to get a new job, using the SMART method you would write something like Enrol in suitable qualification and start in first term.
    • Example 2: If your resolution is to catch up on your overdue student assessments, using the SMART method you would write something like Complete 4 assessments by the end of February.


  • Brainstorm a list of steps it will take to get from where you are now to the point when you will achieve your newly written resolution.
    • For Example 1 above, the steps would be something like these:
      • Research which qualification I should do
      • Find out what training providers offer this qualification
      • Contact each of these training providers
      • Compare the course options and choose preferred option
      • Enrol in qualification
  • Determine when you will need to complete each step to make sure you can achieve your resolution on time.
  • Break down each step into smaller actions if required.
    • For Example 1 above, to research which qualification you should do, the actions would be something like these:
    • Speak to your employer, job network provider and/or a relevant friend or acquaintance who is experienced in the field in which you want to work
    • Go to the MySkills government website to research your desired occupation and the related qualification/s

How do I stay on track?












Despite our best laid plans, sometimes we still might find ourselves losing our initial enthusiasm and not carrying through with the necessary actions. Before we know it, another 3 months, a year or 5 years have gone by and nothing has changed.

    1. Share your plan – find someone who you can share your plan with and ask them to check in with you regularly to see how things are going and to hold you accountable for taking the necessary actions. It’s good to find someone who can give you some gentle but firm reminders and encouragement if they need to.
    2. Do one thing – sometimes the hardest part in following a plan is taking the first step at the beginning or the first step after you’ve fallen behind. We recommend just doing small thing from your list as a way of getting going. Don’t think too much about all the steps in your plan for now, just do one thing at a time and you’ll get ther.
    3. Contact one of our Course Advisors or Student Support Officers – if you are a student with Customised Training or are thinking about studying a qualification that we offer in Melbourne or regional Victoria, we have a team of people here to help you. Give us a call on 1300 275 282 during business hours and we’ll be happy to assist you.

So good luck with your new year’s resolutions and plans!  We commend you for wanting to move forward and make positive changes and leave you with these words from Nelson Mandela:

Vision without action is just a dream, action without vision just passes the time, and vision with action can change the world.