5 New Year’s Resolutions to Boost Your Career to the Next Level
Another new year is upon us, and with it comes the usual flurry of resolutions. Aside from the usual ones involving lifestyle improvement; such as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, taking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, etc.; many individuals accept the challenge to take definitive steps toward boosting their career to the next level. If you find yourself in that mindset of professional growth this new year, here are five suggestions to consider undertaking.
1. Strategize for performance improvement
Goal setting coupled with defined action steps is crucial for achieving progress in anything. If you are already a natural planner, you probably find yourself doing this daily, but even if you normally prefer the approach of “winging it,” I highly recommend this resolution before entering career-growth mode. Set aside a day, or half a day, to spend mapping out your goal or goals for the year, as well as specific strategies for performance improvement that will help you accomplish that end. Choose a quiet weekend, put away other distractions, and let the brainstorming commence! When you are satisfied with the idea map before you, begin to prioritize the goals and write down your steps, strategies, and landmarks to achieve along the way. Keep these visible throughout the year so you can stay focused and track your progress.
2. Schedule time for reflection and consolidation
I recommend undertaking this resolution simultaneously with the previous one. Reflecting on where you are in your career and where you want to be in the short term and long term will really be the first step in your performance-improvement strategizing, but it is just as important to revisit this step when you have prioritized the goals you’ve brainstormed. Consider eliminating any habits or unnecessary commitments that may be inhibiting your progress and may be obstacles toward achieving those goals; this consolidation will free up both time and energy to be spent more effectively.
3. Set checkpoints along the way to reward your progress
I believe everyone is motivated by the promise of reward, at least to some degree. If you find that your resolutions from years past tend to quickly fall by the wayside, you may need to raise the stakes this year. During that first strategy session, the final step is to set achievable checkpoints along the way, spaced out far enough to prevent complacency but close enough to prevent discouragement. Assign specific, enticing rewards for yourself for each checkpoint so that you have a tangible motivation every day for your efforts. You will likely notice a substantial increase in your productivity.
4. Pursue professional development
In your brainstorming session, you should have identified some areas of professional development that would be instrumental in helping you unlock that next career level. Add some new skills to your repertoire: learn a new computer program, become familiar with a standard operating procedure you haven’t previously been responsible for, take steps toward earning a new designation or certification. Professional development is one of the surest ways to prove that you are capable and worthy of promotion.
5. Attend periodic networking activities
In the professional arena, being well-connected is often critical for career success. It’s a time to rub shoulders and pick the brains of those who are wiser and more experienced; it’s also a great way to learn about opportunities for career growth you might not know about otherwise. So resolve to RSVP for networking events on a regular basis this year, whether it’s once a week, once a month, or once a quarter. Be intentional about establishing good connections, and you may receive substantial dividends from that investment.
It is a wise saying that how you start determines how you finish. If you want to end 2017 in a better place than you began it, now is the time to begin your steps toward that end. And if you somehow end up off course during the year, don’t be discouraged; simply pick up where you left off and let that be a new start. Best wishes for great success!