The SMART way to keep your New Year’s Resolutions

by Adriana, Ali, Fernanda, Gabriela, Ilia, Joaquin, Laura, Pierre and Rob.

EC Oxford students tell us how to keep our resolutions this year

‘I will read an English book every day.’

‘I will study for 2 hours four times a week.’

‘I will work harder this year and not be so lazy!’

Sound familiar?

It’s January. It’s a New Year. We’re here to study English in Oxford. and we look ahead and we tell ourselves: This year I’ll be different. This year I’ll do better. This year I’ll learn English faster than ever before.

But will we?

We make resolutions – commitments to change something about our life.

But will they work?

Look again at the three New Year’s Resolutions I quoted earlier and ask yourself: Which one is most similar to my resolution? Which one is the best?

For lots of us, it’s the last one that is most similar to what we’re thinking when we start a new year. ‘I will work harder this year and not be so lazy!’

But if we really want to see change in our English study – or in any area of our life – it’s much more helpful to be SMART about it!

SMART is a popular way of making targets more likely to succeed. Each letter stands for something.

So before you read on, think about or write down your resolutions for this year and see how they measure up to each of these areas – and remember, if you get these targets right, they could change your life for the better!

Making yoru targets SMART really helps your English progress at EC Oxford


Your resolution should be absolutely clear.

If you want to reach a goal in 2019 it’s very important for you to be specific about this objective.

If you choose “Study more” as your goal, you should have specific topics – How many hours do you want to study every day? What could you do to improve your study? How many days a week do you think it’s necessary to study harder?
But when you set goals for yourself it’s important that they motivate you – this means you need to be sure they’re really making you improve your English and you will see results.

Motivation is the key to achieving goals.


It’s important to have realistic goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated.

Checking your progress helps you to stay focused, meet your time limit, and feel the joy of getting closer to achieving your goal.

To create a measurable goal you should ask yourself these questions:
• How am I going to do it?
• How long will it take?
• How will I know when it is reached?



“Every day I will read 500 pages of an advanced English book, I will study 8 hours a day and go to the gym for at least 2 hours a day.”

Sound impossible?

It is. Believe me- I tried.

Setting your goals too high will make you feel disappointed.

It’s January and you are motivated. That’s good! But use your motivation correctly and try not to expect too much from yourself. Having a realistic goal and reaching your target is much better than never achieving your goals.

But can we?

By choosing small targets, making baby steps you will reach your goals easily, without going beyond your limitations. Be realistic and you will be much more confident about your new year’s resolutions.

So think about or write down achievable goals like: “Every day I will read 10 pages of an English book I like, I will study 1 hour a day and go to the gym 3 times a week.”


That last one is a good target isn’t it?

“Every day I will read 10 pages of an English book I like, I will study 1 hour a day and go to the gym 3 times a week.”

But we also have to consider: Why do we have to do this?

Let’s be honest with ourselves – we always procrastinate when nobody knows about our goals.

Let’s change this!

First we need to organize our targets, write them and put them in a place that we’ll always see it. With this method we can’t change or forget what we’ve committed to do.

You will see and be proud of yourself when you underline a successful target when you’ve done it. It’ll encourage you to continue doing it and make you achieve more and more aims.


I know it’s hard to start out with 10 minutes a day to learn new things.

But you can.

Instead of 10 minutes, what about starting with 2 minutes for the first few weeks?

Trust me, it is the best way!

First you have to create a habit, and there is no way that it’s going to happen overnight.

Before you start, write down your goals and don’t forget to make a deadline for yourself.

This deadline has to be realistic; you need to know yourself and your limits, so that you can succeed in your resolution. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

So go on: set your targets, make them SMART, and then put the effort in to see the fruit of your success this year. No pain: no gain, as they say!

Go for it!!