How to stick to your goal of getting a new job

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Tips for achieving career goals.

Did you make a new year resolution to get a new job, gain a new skill or change your career?

Although many people make resolutions or set goals, those resolutions or goals don't always succeed. We've put some tips together to help you keep your resolutions and stick to your goals.

Why do new year resolutions fail?

It's easy to start a new year with good intentions, but resolutions can be difficult to keep. A study of 3,000 people found only 12% succeeded with their new year's resolutions or goals.

Some of the most common reasons for failure are:

  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Not planning
  • Lack of self-knowledge
  • Not asking for help
  • Not doing research.

Set realistic goals

Start by making your goals simple and achievable. Set one or two goals that you can achieve easily in a realistic timeframe.

Have a plan

Having a plan is useful for keeping resolutions and making your goals happen. Don't worry if you don't have a plan in place yet. It's never too late.

You don't need to achieve everything all at once. Consider breaking your goal into small steps. Each step could build on the one before.

Maybe your goal is to make yourself stand out more to employers. You could:

  • update your LinkedIn profile or CV
  • sign up for a new course
  • get an up-to-date professional headshot image
  • develop new skills by volunteering.

Perhaps you'd like to do a qualification but can't afford it yet? You could:

  • review your budget to work out where you could make savings
  • research scholarships you could apply for
  • open a special savings account.

Understand what motivates you

If you'd like to change jobs, but you're not sure what job you'd like, it helps to understand yourself and what motivates or inspires you.

Ask yourself questions:

  • Why do I want to change jobs?
  • What do I like or not like about my current job?
  • What jobs could I see myself doing?

The interests, skills and experiences you have now might be different from those you had five years ago. By understanding yourself and what you want, you might identify new job opportunities.

We have online tools that can help.

Track your progress

Keeping a written record of your goals and the steps you've taken to achieve them is a useful way to track your progress. There are even online apps that can help you.

Tell people your plans

It can be easy to forget your resolutions once the holidays are over. Sometimes telling trusted friends and family about your plans can help keep you on track. Social support can help you achieve goals by keeping you motivated to stick to them.

Don't give up

Finally, it's important to be able to deal with setbacks. If things don't go to plan, don't give up.

For example, if you give yourself a deadline to get a new job, but it doesn't work out, don't tell yourself you've failed. That can make you lose motivation.

Instead, review how you've been applying for jobs and consider if there are new ways you could try, or different types of jobs you could look for.

Goals should be marathons, not sprints

Prepare for your resolution as if it were a marathon, not a sprint. Achieving a goal takes work and time.

You goals might take work to achieve, but if you start with a plan, set yourself small targets and are able to cope when things don't go to plan, your hard work will eventually pay off.

Find out more


  • New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals, 'Over 85% of New Year's Resolutions Fail, But Let's Change That', 5 January 2016, (
  • Wiseman, R, 'New Year's Resolution Project', accessed January 2019, (

Updated 21 Jan 2020