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New Year, New Intentions

Part 1: Review – Reflect – Refocus

This is the start in a series of posts for the New Year. Whether you have lost your routine over the break or finding it hard to focus on your studies now life is returning to its normal pattern, there will be guidance on how you can get back into your course.
For some students the festive break gives a break from the normal routine with plenty of time for study. As life returns to its normal pattern, you can lose momentum as other things keep getting in the way.
Conversely, it may be that over the last few weeks you have lost your regular routine, taken a break and are now finding it hard to get restarted back on your course.  
The start of a new year can be used to focus the mind as we start thinking about the promise of the next 12 months ahead.
It is tempting to wait until the New Year to make big, sweeping changes. We may plan a long list of resolutions for things we aim to give up or new regimes to start. However, there is much evidence that such large changes are doomed to fail within a few weeks of the resolutions being made. Look how many gyms are full of new members in early January to be nearly empty by the beginning of February!
Instead it is good to review progress prior to making the plans. Think about the highlights and lowlights of your study in 2018.
As adult learners managing the demands of study with work/family/other commitments, can be a juggling act. Taking time for honest reflection of where you are on your current course, can pay great dividends to your future planning. Put your studies into perspective by stepping back and examining your work and take an overview of where you are on the learning journey. This can help you to refocus energy on your studies.
It should only take a short session to undertake the review. There are some pointers below on what to cover, but of course do add and adapt with what works for you.


Using some sheets of paper, map out where you are on a timeline, you may be taking one course at a time but do think about the longer journey if you are planning on completing a full degree. Plot where you currently are, where you started and the end point if known.
Thinking of the past year:
What have been the highlights in your studies?
Are there any lowlights? Is there anything you could have done to mitigate them?


Time for some honest reflection of your studying.  
Where does it fit into your life?  
How do you study best – large chunks of time or shorter but more regular bursts?
Where do you work best – or does it not matter?
Do you need constant motivation?
Is creative block something you battle with? If you have, how have you overcome it?


Goals for 2019 – be as wide reaching as you can.
Now back to the timeline, can you map out this journey in smaller steps. Breaking it down in stages to help you achieve this goal
What changes to do you need to make in how you approach your studies? This could be a change in how you manage your time or creating a better environment as a workspace.
If you have any good tips or techniques, do share them below. Or if there are things you are struggling with, maybe how to create/manage time to study or battle procrastination, do comment below. Future posts will be tackling these issues.

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Posted by author: Andrea Norrington

3 thoughts on “New Year, New Intentions

  • My advice would be doing the live Hangouts. It is so helpful to sea and hear your fellow students. I feel I have been helped so much by listening and participating in these Hangouts.

  • Thanks for the comment Nuala. It is good to see the hangouts grow in students participating – hopefully we will see more students participating in 2019.

  • Great post, Andrea (not just just for students but for all of us!). Nuala, it’s brilliant to hear how beneficial you find the group Hangouts – that peer-group connection & generally feeling part of a learning community can be absolutely vital for motivation & inspiration. Happy new year indeed!

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