goals Now that 2018 is here, you may be setting a few personal resolutions, such as eating better, getting more exercise, or keeping in better touch with your family. However, have you considered setting a few professional resolutions for 2018?

Setting professional goals will help to improve productivity, develop your knowledge and skills, and make you a more valuable asset to the company. “Continuing education in EMS is one of the more effective means we have to improve healthcare delivery and overall patient outcomes,” says Christopher Ebright, Education Coordinator for the National EMS Academy. He notes that continuing education not only keeps EMS professionals competent in the workforce, but also keeps you informed on current medical best practices.

Getting from point A to point B doesn’t have to be daunting. With small steps, you can accomplish your goals and come out a better version of yourself.

Make a Plan

January is a time for renewal. Think about where you are in your professional journey and where you want to be. If you are an EMT but dream of being a Flight RN, start researching the training and classes you need to get there. If you’re a paramedic, take this time to check on your recertification status. It’s a good time to start planning any hours needed for a license or certification renewal. Don’t pay attention to the time or cost just yet. Simply knowing the path it takes to get there is a good start.

Be Specific & Set a Date

The main reason why many people don’t stick to their goals is because they make vague, sweeping goals without a deadline. You are more likely to stick to, “I will walk for 45 minutes, 3 days a week for the month of January,” than a general goal of, “I’m going to be more active in 2018.”

It works the same way with professional goals. If you want to become a paramedic and are currently an EMT, you may want to set a goal of registering for and taking a Human Anatomy and Physiology course by a certain date. Giving yourself a deadline holds you accountable, but makes it easier to achieve.

Break It Down

Large, intimidating goals are easier to accomplish if they are broken down into smaller, more manageable ones. Let’s take the EMT example. Taking only one class for one semester is pretty achievable, right? Once you take and pass the Human Anatomy and Physiology Class, you can then begin the paramedic program. Registering for an information session prior to the semester seems much more achievable and less scary.

If you need some recertification hours, check the weekly schedule of Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) in advance and plan accordingly. Taking one class at a time will make it more manageable, similar to paying off a credit card – small, consistent steps toward the zero balance will eventually get you there.

Celebrate Your Accomplishments

Many people have an “all or nothing” mentality. If you “cheat” on your diet by eating a box of brownies, don’t give up – simply dust yourself off and continue forward with your new healthy habits. Did you fail a class? While it’s important to identify the cause (instructor, material or outside distractions) don’t beat yourself up and walk away. Learn from it and keep moving forward.

On the other hand, celebrate and reward yourself for any professional goals you meet in 2018, no matter how big or small. If you finally enrolled in the paramedic program for the summer semester, pat yourself on the back! If you signed up for an Introduction to Trauma VILT, celebrate and share your achievements with those you love. Having a strong support system will only make you more successful.

Make 2018 the year to start paying more attention to your passions!

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