Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2022? More than one? 

If so, how are you getting on with it all so far? 

If you keep things going for another seven weeks, the chances are very good that you’ll make the breakthrough you’re looking for. And you’ll be one of the rarer success stories. 

Some surveys suggest as many as four out of five people who make a resolution will fail to stick with it. 

It appears that many people typically quit during January to February. But that doesn’t mean it has to be you. 

Rounding Up the Usual Suspects 

The usual suspects around which resolutions are made include doing more exercise, losing weight, improving fitness, eating a healthier diet, saving money, spending more time with family and friends, taking up a new hobby or following a career ambition. 

There are bound to be experts who can explain the behavioural psychology around it all. You can probably find some of what they say online. 

My take on it is that New Year’s resolutions are often made when people are not deciding entirely for themselves. They might feel under family or peer pressure to pick ‘something’. They may declare a vague goal when tired, at a party or after a few drinks. 

That’s a way of doing it that’s probably set up for failure. 

The Clue is in the Name  

A resolution is, as the word suggests, about resolve. It is declaring a firm determination to do something. 

Unfortunately, most resolutions are worded wrong. Typically, they state an aspiration yet leave out the most important elements of a goal. 

A goal should be S.M.A.R.T. 

Instead of saying “I’m going to do more exercise”, the resolution could state something like “I will do 30 minutes of exercise at least three days a week”. 

The latter is a specific goal. It’s measurable. It’s achievable. It’s realistic. It’s time-limited. In other words, smart. 

If someone just says “more exercise” we don’t really know what that means. And there’s no way to measure that. If you can’t measure it, you can’t know if you’ve achieved your goal. 

New Year’s Resolutions for the Savvy Assistant 

As an assistant, you may well have chosen or considered one of the ‘usual suspects’ as your resolution – or resolutions – for the year ahead. If so, good luck with it all and do comment below.  

It is said if you write down a goal you are 20 to 40 per cent more likely to achieve it. The success rate rises if you also share that goal with others. There is neuroscientific evidence to support why that’s the case. 

And, of course, you don’t need to limit yourself to the traditional picks for resolutions. 

You can choose something that is more pertinent to your role or business. Perhaps something around productivity, efficiency, income, creating more time and freedom for yourself. 

But remember to state it as a SMART goal (or series of smart goals). Let me give you some examples of that. 

“By the end of March I will have completed an online course in Microsoft Teams so I can use it with confidence.” 

“I will set aside X hours a month solely on business building activity (eg planning, marketing, sales)”. 

“Based on the value I bring to my clients, I will raise my fee from £20 per hour to £25 per hour from 1st April 2022.” 

Do you see how making a resolution or goal specific, and having a timeframe, makes it stronger? More real? More likely that you are going to commit to it because there’s a genuine target to aim for? 

Stay on Course for a Successful 2022 

As an assistant, your work probably requires you to use some or all of Microsoft’s Office and 365 applications. Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint have probably been a staple for you. Teams is the one that’s probably joined your party late – and is going to be the one most likely in need of being tamed

When you’ve mastered Microsoft, you’ll be able to do more in less time. You’ll be able to take on new projects or clients. You’ll be able to free up more time. You’ll find it easier to achieve your goals. 

You could pick one from a range of my online courses or invest in a comprehensive box set of training. My version of that is called The Hub

Know what you want to get out of your training. Picture how it will transform your work and life. Make a commitment to yourself to continue the journey of improvement and stay ahead of the new additions and changes Microsoft makes. 

If more personalised or tailored training sounds helpful, there’s always the 1:1 option to get help with what will give you the most value. 

Here’s to a healthy, happy and successful 2022. 

Sources for stats: Forbes quotes Inc which quotes US News online:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2019/12/21/the-top-3-reasons-new-years-resolutions-fail-and-how-yours-can-succeed/?sh=5d7473ab6992

https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/why-set-yourself-up-for-failure-ditch-new-years-resolution-do-this-instead.html

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes