(Realistic) career New Year’s resolutions
January 6, 2022
January has rolled around once again. And with it, the usual fanfare: people are either flocking to the gym, on a juice cleanse, taking up meditation or going vegan.
New Year’s resolutions have become standard practice for many of us.
However, chances are that by mid-January, the vast majority of people will’ve scrapped their cold-pressed green juices and given up on their 6am jogging routine.
The problem with the commonly accepted notion of ‘New Year, New Me’ is that the resolutions this mindset promotes are often fundamentally unrealistic and unattainable.
It’s about time we faced the truth. You’re not going to wake up on the 1st of January as a shiny, new and improved version of yourself. Small, sustainable habits are the building blocks of long-term success. After all, Rome wasn’t build in a day.
And the same goes for career-related New Year’s resolutions. Instead of saying that your plan for the New Year is to ‘get a promotion’ or ‘get a raise’, implement realistic changes into your working life that will gradually lead you towards your desired long-term outcome.
Just like those who inevitably abandon their intensive fitness regime and restrictively healthy lifestyle before the month is through, people who set overly vague and ambitious New Year’s resolutions for their career will fall at the first hurdle. Such goals are too intimidating, and impossible to measure in the short-term.
We’re bringing you a list of small (but mighty) work-related goals for the year ahead, goals that are actually realistic.
Reflect on your long-term career ambitions
In order to determine which small changes to make for your career in the New Year, it’s important to first take a step back, take a deep breath and ponder on where you currently are in your career.
Conduct your own mini career evaluation. How have you progressed in your career thus far? What’s worked well and what could you do differently, moving forward?
Contemplating in this way can help feed into your career-related New Year’s resolutions. It’ll give you an idea of what positive actions you can take in the New Year to progress further.
Take a glimpse into the future and ask yourself: a year from now, where do I want to be, career-wise? And which small steps can I take to reach that point?
Sure, maybe one of your ultimate goals is a promotion. Whilst it’s important to identify that from the get-go, you then need to break this down into smaller, bit-sized resolutions to help you get there.
Give your professional profiles a makeover
Regardless of whether or not you’re planning on applying for a new job in the New Year, there’s no harm in giving your CV and LinkedIn profile a revamp.
Refine your CV as much as possible, fine-tuning it to ensure that all the information presented on the page is relevant, concise, and up to date.
As a resource, LinkedIn is a goldmine that you need to be tapping into. Make it your career New Year’s resolution to give your profile an overhaul.
When it comes to improving your LinkedIn, the opportunities are endless. Update your photo to really showcase your personal brand, review your listed skills and endorsements, ask for recommendations, start posting engaging and relevant content for your followers, network more…the list goes on.
Just one thing to keep in mind. LinkedIn is not the same thing as a CV, so don’t go overboard with detail. You don’t want to raise suspicion at work that you’re planning on jumping ship.
LinkedIn should just provide a glimpse into your experience, a taster that leaves your audience on the edge of their seats, wanting more.
Gain a professional certification
No matter how established you may already be in your career, gaining a new certification is bound to be beneficial to your professional development.
There truly is a course out there for everyone.
If you’re an experienced project management professional, there’s courses like the PLP certification. For those in marketing, the CIM offers an array of virtual classes that can earn you accredited awards.
But that’s not to say that any course you undertake has to be directly relevant to your current role or industry. Expand your horizons by taking a creative writing course, a coding course, or a photoshop course.
Enriching your skillset may come in handy for your career in unexpected ways.
Be bold, and take the lead more
To really put yourself in the best position possible for goals like a raise or promotion, the key is to be fearless.
Take every challenge by the horns.
Make it a New Year’s resolution to say yes more. To put yourself in leadership positions and showcase your talents. Find opportunities to gain more exposure to clients, own more project deliverables, lead on more presentations, and develop mentoring skills.
By adopting this mindset, you’ll make yourself more visible to your superiors, paving the way for career advancement.
Clear out your files and email inbox
If there’s one thing that’s going to get you off on the wrong foot in your career at the start of the year, it’s the glaring red notification jumping out of your computer screen.
You’re likely to encounter this after a long hiatus over Christmas break, a stark reminder of the thousands of unopened emails in your inbox.
Simple as it may sound, clearing out your computer files and email inbox is one of the first resolutions you should be making for the New Year.
By decluttering your work laptop of all unnecessary junk and starting afresh, you’ll be able to walk around the office with a spring in your step.
Join a professional community
Professional organisations come in all shapes and sizes.
Certain institutions are industry-specific, and can massively help you level-up your career.
Membership to a professional body related to your industry is beneficial in a number of ways.
For one thing, membership often demands certain entry requirements, such as certain skills or a specified amount of experience. So, simply being part of a closed professional community allows you to showcase your expertise in a particular field.
Professional organisations are also home to a wide array of resources. Topical industry news, career advice, and networking events, for example.
Certain organisations open their doors to many professionals from different industries seeking networking opportunities (for a fee, of course). The AllBright community is worth a special mention, as it’s a women’s-only membership that provides a lavish space for professional women of all ages and seniorities to meet and network.
It’s safe to say that, although they incur a cost, these professional bodies are definitely worth it. If you’re looking to invest in your career, joining an organisation of like-minded, ambitious individuals will advance your professional life no end.
Read one inspiring book per month
If there’s one small step you should be taking towards gradual professional self-improvement, it’s reading more.
If that promotion or raise is really what you want, inspiring career-motivation books are jam-packed full of wisdom and expertise to steer you in the right direction.
By adopting a sustained approach – setting a goal of reading one career-related motivational book a month – you’ll be paving the way for a gradual mindset shift.
Books such as James Clear’s Atomic Habits and Farrah Storr’s The Discomfort Zone are founts of invaluable advice, that can help you adopt lifechanging habits for the long-term.
Incorporate wellness into your work routine
Wellness means something different for everyone.
But at it’s core, wellness is the act of putting yourself first. And we believe it’s crucial to incorporate wellness into your working life in some form.
It’s important to find a healthy habit that suits you. Whether it be walking to work, taking more mindful breaks throughout the workday, packing a healthier lunch instead of making the predictable pilgrimage to Pret, attending yoga classes in your lunch break.
Every small mindful act contributes to our overall state of wellbeing. And the impact this can have on your productivity and motivation levels is palpable.
This year, invest time in cultivating positive habits that you’ll carry with you throughout the year. Changing your mindset is the first step towards achieving your ultimate career ambitions.
Which of these career New Year’s resolutions will you be incorporating into your working life in 2022? We’re already a week in, so the time to start is now!
December 19, 2023