What do you hope to accomplish in 2018? How are you going to stay committed to achieving them for the whole year?  Where are you going to find that drive and willpower to overcome whatever obstacles may get in your way?

When I think of my own goals for 2018 and how I want to achieve them, I often reflect on one of my earliest and most rewarding accomplishments, during my middle and high school days, when I fought for smoke-free restaurants in the State of Florida.  This persisted throughout graduate school, when I advocated for the London School of Economics to protect students from exposure to secondhand smoke inside professor offices and student dorms.

My years of grassroots advocacy finally paid off; I convinced my graduate school to restrict smoking in professor offices, dorms, and building entranceways. This was, by far, one of my most rewarding accomplishments.

Time and time again during these efforts, I faced setbacks.  Classmates laughed at me, and officials told me that stricter no smoking policies were not possible.  But I was determined. I was going to find a way, prove everyone wrong, and show them that things could be better.  We had a chance to protect children and non-smokers from secondhand smoke. Why wouldn’t anyone want to support such a positive mission?

Such determination may not come as easily to you, for one reason or another. You may struggle with confidence issues or worry that you will not succeed.  Yet, chances are that you have accomplished quite a bit.  Use these past successes as fuel for this year’s goals.  Take the rest of January to reflect on your goals for 2018 and how you plan to fight for them.  Think about what motivates you.

Growing up, my parents taught me to go after what I wanted in life. They taught me that the word “no” does not always exist.  “How can we get to yes?” they would ask me.  I live my life like this, applying this thinking to both my personal and professional lives while also trying to instill it in my clients as they think through their job search strategy.

As you reflect this month on what will help you accomplish your goals this year, I challenge you find that energy and drive to achieve those goals.  Reflect on how to turn no into yes, how to find that inner strength and drive, and how to push the envelope just a bit more.  You may surprise yourself at what you can achieve!