Whether you’re trying to pass all 4 sections of the CPA Exam this year or are looking to get through one section of studying without being distracted by YouTube cat videos, here are some tips you can use to make sure you stick to your resolution of boosting your career as a CPA this year.
Think about 2016, or go even further back to the past few years. What are things or persons that have deterred you from obtaining your CPA license? What are areas in your life that need improvement? If there were 2 or 3 things that you wish could be different, what would they be? It’s important to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and trials and tribulations. Especially if you’re looking to become a CPA. Think about who you’d like to become and who you currently are.
2. Choose 1 or 2 goals
Let your reflection guide you into choosing 1 or 2 goals that you would like to accomplish in this New Year. The mistake that many people make is creating too many goals for themselves, which is overwhelming and unrealistic. Keep your resolutions short, simple, and sweet. This way you can really focus on 1 or 2 important changes you’d like to make without spreading yourself too thin.
3. Create a plan of action
Having great goals is all fine and well, but they will amount to nothing without a solid plan of action. Use an excel sheet, daily planner, or your phone to create a blueprint of exactly how you will accomplish your study goals. This could mean creating a strict daily schedule or hitting weekly/monthly objectives spread out over time. Incorporate stepping stones that you can realistically reach. This is very similar to our study planners. If you want to pass the CPA Exam in 3, 6, or 9 months, you must carve out the appropriate time to dedicate to that goal. So if you need to tell family and friends about your resolution in order for them to give you the proper support, by all means, please do!
4. Hold yourself accountable
Life has a great way of interfering with anything we set out to do, and that that doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. So remember to hold yourself accountable for achieving your goals. Don’t make excuses and don’t let other unpredictable life events deter you. At the end of the day, you are the only person who can decide whether or not you will make things happen!
5. Don’t be afraid of failure
There may be times when you don’t quite meet your objectives, or when you give in to doing anything else instead of studying. There may also be times when you fail a section of the CPA Exam despite the fact that you tried really hard. While this can be discouraging, know that it’s okay! Learn from those failures and use them as a way to do better next time, whether that means refining your objectives or using new techniques to accomplish them.
6. Have rewards in place
This is an important step, for yourself and those around you! Don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching tiny milestones in your overall goals. If you reach your daily, weekly, or monthly objectives, treat yourself to something awesome. This will give you extra incentive to continue to work hard and see things through.
7. Stay healthy
We can't stress this one enough. You won't be able to reap the rewards of being a CPA if you're not in good health to do so. So remember to get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat right. Studying for the CPA Exam takes a large toll on the mind, body, and spirit--especially if you're still in school, are a working professional, or have a family to take care of. So put your health first and be in tune with what you need to stay focused and energized.
8. Stay positive
It can be easy to give in to negativity and pessimism when things aren't going your way. Add on the fact that you're in a secluded state when you're studying for the CPA Exam for months on end, so your mood can dip from time to time. However, remember the importance of staying positive. Put up a sign in your study space that constantly reminds you why you're getting your CPA license. Having a positive attitude can make all the difference between a good and bad CPA Exam experience.
9. Reach out when you're in need
Don't go through difficult times alone! If you're in a situation that is heavily deterring you from reaching your goals, know that it's okay to reach out and ask for help. Ask your beloved family and friends for a helping hand, whether it's babysitting your kids after school for a couple days or hopping on the phone for a quick vent and some advice.
10. Have confidence and faith
Sometimes, the largest obstacle between you and accomplishing your goals is…well…you! It’s easy to push things back and be lenient with yourself: “I have plenty of time do finish this next week.” “It’s not often that family and friends are in town.” “I’ve had a hard and busy day at work.” It’s also very easy to feel that you’re not strong enough to accomplish your goals in the schedule that you’ve set. But you can, and you will! Perhaps the most valuable tip you can take away from this is to have confidence and faith in yourself. If you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t!
Many of us will look back to 2016 as a closed chapter and see 2017 as the addition of a new one; however, we should all remember that every year, whether past or present, gives us a chance to better ourselves and our lives.
Happy New Year’s Resolutions planning. You’ve got this!