The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to jump-start career-related resolutions, including the ones you didn’t get to last year or the year before. Perhaps your list seemed overwhelming or the goals you set were unrealistic.
Take a new path in achieving your resolutions in 2015 by creating a few small career goals instead of trying to tackle many big ones at once. You won’t need to make a major overhaul in your daily life. Think baby steps, not giant leaps.
It’s never too late to begin. First, you might want to consider how you define “success.” Does success mean making more money, taking on more responsibilities, enjoying your job more, creating a better work-life balance, or something else? Second, identify which aspects of your daily routine could use some tweaks so that you can have greater job satisfaction.
Let’s look at some great ways to improve your professional life while setting specific and attainable goals in the New Year.
1. Create Routines. Make your resolution a priority, not an afterthought. Create daily routines and adopt positive behaviors that will enhance your professional and personal life. What you do the night before and each morning will set the tone for the entire day.
Before you wrap up each night, create a list of To Dos. Check your appointments and create two or three mini tasks that you would like to accomplish the next day. Then put your work aside and spend some quality time with family, friends, or yourself. Recharge your energy and relax from the hustle and bustle of the day.
Set your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier in the morning and take this additional time to focus on yourself and envision the day in terms of actionable behaviors, including the mini list you created the night before. Meditate, exercise, or stretch.
2. Make Connections. It’s important to meet new people and to improve and maintain existing relationships with colleagues, clients, and future business prospects. Make a list of target events that attract a large concentration of industry folks you want to meet. Be sincere in your outreach and take time to cultivate the relationships you are establishing.
Social media is also a great place to expand your network and make connections. Promote your online presence by sharing valuable content and points of view on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Make sure your profiles are up to date, follow people in your industry, and interact with influential and powerful industry leaders. Review your online contacts, pinpoint potential local business connections, and reach out to set up in-person meetings.
3. Invest in New Technology. Consider investing in a new tech device or app such as Evernote or Workflowy to streamline or enhance your organization and time management in your career and at home. Smartphones and tablets can be invaluable to keep track of your daily goals.
4. Be Grateful, Have Fun. Resolve to be your best self this year, both professionally and personally. Focus on what really matters by creating a list of what you are grateful for. As you go about your daily routine at work, remember to show appreciation for challenges, turn negatives into positives, and be grateful for the opportunities that come your way.
5. Celebrate Successes. When you accomplish a mini goal, celebrate a little. The reward need not be extravagant, but should be something you wouldn’t normally do for yourself. Have you finished and submitted that report on time when it's typically late? Then go grab a latte or gourmet cookie from your local bakery. We are often incentivized by others but with a little discipline, you can reward and motivate yourself. At DiGennaro Communications, a boutique Manhattan-based PR agency, employees celebrate the achievements and exceptional work of their peers by ringing their bright orange company branded cowbells. Everyone joins in, creating a feel-good environment that boosts morale and recognizes employees' successes. Whether you reward yourself or your coworkers, make sure to keep going in the right direction with boosts throughout the year celebrating your small victories.
Regardless of career level, you can always improve and celebrate your wins. Take a skills class, read motivational books, tap into your inner talents, or meet with a mentor for advice and guidance. Put a stake in the ground and go for it. The power of small victories will make all the difference this year and keep you motivated and rejuvenated throughout 2015.
Jules Smith is HR Director at DiGennaro Communications.