Career Resolutions to Get Your Year in Gear
If you’re like most people, you’re probably considering a few resolutions to help motivate you into becoming a better version of yourself in the year to come. The end of a year lends itself to reflection; a look inward or a hope for more tangible progress. But resolutions need to be the right size and scope in order to be effective. People often start out with a bang and then settle back in to their routines before Spring. But don’t despair, there are some simple thought adjustments, strategies and resources to keep going. You just have to be a bit proactive.
Since this is blog deals with issues related to job search, career advancement and getting people in touch with what makes them tick, the resolutions we’ll focus on will continue in these themes. No weight loss tips here! The blog will share some tidbits about how to set realistic career-related resolutions and hold yourself accountable to them. I’ll draw some from client experiences and a few from personal experience.
- Re-Branding the New Year’s Resolution
Don’t call it a New Year’s Resolution. Your resolutions need to be re-branded so they don’t come with the popular connotations that they were made to be broken. Keep in mind, this isn’t a mindset you should only adopt in January when you want to turn the page for a fresh start. From this point forward, you are committed to the lifelong process of setting and achieving goals – no matter how small. It’s not an annual shot of motivation. Perhaps your re-branding can be called, “Kimberly’s 9-month path to becoming certified in Advanced Excel.” The more specific you are, the better (more on that later). Give it a name, a time frame and don’t buy in to the New Year’s piece of it because that’s only relevant for a short stint of time.
- Be Specific AND Realistic
Some things are out of your control. For instance, it would be a shame to set a goal of receiving a promotion within the year when you cannot determine this for yourself. If your long-term goal is a promotion, ask yourself why. Is it 1. A desire for recognition of your hard work? 2. Is it that you’re growing tired of your current role? 3. Is it primarily a need for a salary boost? Then you have to do some research. Is there a job description available for your target role? Does your company tend to promote from within? Is there a real opportunity for growth? This needs to be un-packed a bit to determine how feasible it is and what you’re really seeking. From there, you can set a specific goal such as earning a certification or strategically expanding your network with people in your target area. Vague resolutions are easy to ignore.
- Boost Your Accountability
One strategy that I’ve done is to write reminders to myself on my calendar. I once wrote, “Hello March, I’m writing this in January to make sure you’ve taken at least one concrete step towards your goal of _____.” Keep it playful and encouraging. But it’s a fun exercise to write to yourself and be your own cheerleader. One client got her family to mail her letters on the first of the month. They all wrote a few words of encouragement because her goal was particularly challenging to achieve. But, she did it.
- Don’t Go It Alone
No matter your goal, if it’s something you can do with a friend, family member or even a career coach, it will increase your chances of success. Here’s an example: Molly and Danielle are both introverts. They work together and confided in each other about their frustrations in the office. They often feel their hard work goes unnoticed in favor of the more outgoing types who are better at advocating for themselves. Their goal was to be more of a presence in the office and get to know their colleagues. They hatched a plan to try and have weekly lunches with their co-workers. Sometimes they miss a week but getting to know their colleagues outside of work has improved their day-to-day experience. They no longer feel invisible, they are more invested in their jobs and Danielle wrote a blog about the impact of her weekly lunches, which made its’ way to their boss (with a favorable outcome).
- Resolutions are Best in Bite-Size Pieces
Let’s use the example of setting a resolution for better Work-Life balance. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re less committed to your job, but you need to recharge your batteries so you don’t burn out. It’s not likely that you’ll suddenly find time to go to Yoga 4x a week and do a 15-minute meditation every day. Start small and celebrate your victories along the way. The key is to reward your progress – not just the end goal. Perhaps you closed your laptop 10 minutes early and went for a walk. Maybe that walk becomes a regular thing; and over time, you wake up 30 minutes earlier and go for a brisk walk 5 days a week. After you see some progress, treat yourself to something small. It doesn’t have to be a “thing,” it can be an experience.
- There’s No Shame in Needing Help
There’s a reason Career Coaches exist. We are here to help our clients gain clarity about what their goals are now, in 6 months, in 5 years, etc… Sometimes there’s no substitute for an objective 3rd party to come in and say the things that need to be said, to offer the type of motivation which can vacillate between encouragement and “tough love” and to share the hard skills about resumes and job search that it’s our business to know. If you want to give yourself (or someone else) the gift of career coaching to get your resolutions off the ground and help them take flight, contact us today.
And lastly, Happy Holidays from the Careerfolk team. We hope 2017 brings you every success you desire. Thanks for 11 years of support from clients like you!
About the Author
Tava Auslan, MSEd, ACRW
Senior Coach, Certified Resume Writer
Tava Auslan is a career counselor, certified resume writer and dancer. Since 2002 she has partnered with her clients to give them clarity, confidence and concrete strategies for job search. After earning her BA in Psychology from SUNY Purchase and an MSEd in Counseling from Fordham University, she worked with Donna at The New School Career Services Center in 2002. There she served students and graduates pursuing a variety of careers from academia to international affairs. She later went on to serve as the Assistant Director of Disability Services. A skilled counselor, she is compassionate, insightful and delivers the right amount of “push” to motivate her clients. An astute writer, Tava earned her ACRW credential from Resume Writing Academy and crafts resumes that tell a compelling story for job seekers of all ages and stages. Tava has worked with a broad array of clients ranging from entrepreneurs, scientists, project managers, recent grads and engineers.