10 simple New Year's resolutions to enhance your career

  • career advice
  • December 19, 2016
As January approaches, you may be thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. These are usually goals people make to improve their lives. However, a lot of us only keep our resolutions for a few weeks before we tend to fall back into our old patterns. Here are 10 simple resolutions you can make -- and keep -- to improve your career in 2017. 

Manage your time

It may sound easy, but this can be one of the most challenging aspects of your day. Try to start each morning by creating a list of all the things you’d like to accomplish in the day or week ahead. Of course, you will likely be assigned additional projects and unexpected work, but mapping out everything currently on your plate will help you prioritize and accomplish your assignments. 

Identify a weakness

No one is perfect. Find one area where you need improvement and focus on getting better. If you are indecisive, make an effort to make a decision and defend your option. If you are impatient, try to relax and hear other people’s opinions before reacting. Taking this type of initiative demonstrates that you are flexible and willing to improve yourself. 

Learn from your mistakes

You will make mistakes. Whether you’ve been on the job for 10 years or one week, it’s important to treat errors as learning experiences. Sometimes you don’t even know you’ve done something incorrectly. Be sure to listen with an open mind to criticism from bosses or co-workers. It’s important not to get sensitive and pout or blow off observatory comments. For the most part, people who say something are trying to help you grow stronger. 

Try something new

Look for opportunities to learn new skills. If you aren’t proficient in Excel or PowerPoint, sign up for a training session or webinar. Step outside of your comfort zone and volunteer to assist with a project in another department. You’ll be looking at the work with a fresh set of eyes and may be able to make recommendations that others had not considered. 

Communicate

No matter what kind of job you have, you most likely communicate with other people at some point during the day, and good communication skills are vital to your career. For example, don’t be afraid to talk to your peers to let them know what you are working on. If they ask you questions, be as clear as possible with your answers and never assume someone understands what you are saying. Additionally, return emails and voicemails clearly and promptly. Try to anticipate any follow-up questions and include that information in your response. This type of “thinking ahead” communication can cut down on the back and forth and give you more time to focus on your other duties. 

Develop new contacts

It’s always a good idea to network with other professionals, whether they are in your field or not. Joining industry groups or attending events are great ways to meet new people. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, these types of contacts can be invaluable when you are in the job market. Remember, sometimes it’s not what you know, but rather who you know. 

Improve workplace relationships

Don’t forget about the existing relationships you have at work. Schedule meetings with your boss to discuss your progress. Make sure you are both on the same page regarding your work. Don’t wait for any surprises to appear on your performance review. In addition, show interest in what your co-workers are doing. You may be able to offer guidance or advice on some of their projects. Make sure you are on good terms with others on your team, as you never know if you’ll be reporting to one of them in the future. 

Make change easier on yourself

No matter how much you prepare, something unexpected can always impact your work and create change. You don’t need to fear workplace change, and if you proactively try to incorporate “easy” changes in your life, you’ll find that adjusting to harder, bigger changes will become easier. Easy changes can be as simple as trying a new type of food, seeing a new type of film or listening to a new kind of music. Adjusting to change takes time, but getting your mind used to small changes will make the process smoother. 

Be active

It seems everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to go to the gym or lose weight. Why not burn off some calories and work stress at the same time? If your employer allows it, go for a short walk during your lunch or breaks. In addition to breaking a sweat and getting in shape, the physical activity will help clear your mind. You’ll be able to think more clearly and increase your productivity when you get back to your tasks. 

Live your life

Make time for you. Practice one activity per week that you enjoy to relieve stress, such as coloring, playing an instrument or gardening. If you have a busy family, try to find at least one night a week where everyone can sit down together for dinner (no cell phones allowed!). A healthy work-life balance will help you de-stress and make you a happier person.

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