Tis the Season for New Year’s Resolutions

By: Amber McCraw, Career Advising Fellow

Welcome to 2015 – what an exciting time it is!  Tis the season for setting goals, reflecting on the past year, and making fresh starts.  Obviously, you can do these things at any point during the year, but the start of a new year is a natural time to for this process to occur.  So, let’s talk about New Year’s Resolutions.

This past year was the first year that I was actually successful in sticking to my New Year’s Resolution.  I am 24 years old, so why was this the first time in 24 years that I was able to keep my resolution?  I set a goal that was simple, but necessary: Have a more positive outlook on life.

At the beginning of 2014, I was starting my last semester of graduate school at the University of Georgia in College Student Affairs Administration.  I knew it was going to be a busy semester and first half of the year between studying for and taking the comprehensive exam, working 20+ hours per week in my assistantship with University Housing, finishing up my academic work, job searching, and spending as much time as possible with my friends before we all went our separate ways.

So, was it easy to maintain a positive outlook at all times?  Absolutely not – let’s be honest. I certainly encountered challenges along the way.  How did I do it?

If you ask most people how they are doing, they will likely respond with “fine,” “good,” or “well.”  I chose to respond with “Delightful!” It sets a positive tone and I believe that positivity and happiness are contagious.  To further spread the positivity, I made it a point to write notes of encouragement to my friends and the students I worked with randomly throughout the year. After a particularly challenging part of the year, I followed a trend on Instagram (#100happydays) and posted a photo a day for 100 days about something that made me happy each day. It was encouraging to notice the small things in life that brought a smile to my face.  Lastly, I am of the opinion that everything happens for a reason and I tried to reframe any challenges and obstacles that I encountered to find the silver lining.

As a result, people that I’ve met since the start of 2014 have commented on how much they appreciate my positivity, positivity is now one of my top 5 Strengths according to StrengthsFinder, friends seek encouragement from me, and personally, I have learned to complain less, which has made a huge difference.

Resolutions can be personal or professional.  For 2015, one of my resolutions falls on the professional side.  I absolutely love this fellowship, but come May, it will be ending.  I resolve to find another position that is both fulfilling and fun.  In addition, I resolve to be patient in this search as it may take a while to find the right fit.

What are your professional resolutions?  Maybe you want to take more vacation time, find another position that more closely aligns with your values, spend more time with your colleagues, make more professional connections, engage with social media more often, or start a new project at work.  Whatever it is, resolve to do it and stick with it!  It may be challenging or it may scare you a little, but that’s the beauty of it.  You’ll be so proud of yourself when 2016 rolls around.

Happy New Year!  Make 2015 both meaningful and memorable!

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About Amber McCraw

Amber McCraw serves as a the Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications. Previously, she served as a Career Advising fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year. Before arriving at Elon, she earned an M. Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia where she worked in Residence Life. Prior to UGA, Amber attended NC State, leaving with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Psychology. As an advisor, she works with students from all majors to help them set and reach their career goals. This includes working with students to update their resumes, practice their interviewing skills, develop their professional brand via LinkedIn, and provide them with resources for the internship and job search.

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