The problem with New Year’s Resolutions
The nature of the word “resolution” refers to solving or fixing something. That’s the major downside of New Year’s resolutions; they come from a negative place of feeling “not good enough”, making us wish to fix ourselves in order to be perfect and that’s not a very motivating place to be. And because of this, the initial adrenalin rush from setting resolutions gets replaced by our lack of motivation and soon becomes a forgotten notion.
We don’t need to be fixed, we need to grow.
We, as humans, are not broken, and we don’t need fixing. However, we are driven by fulfillment and we need to experience a life of meaning. Sell-fulfillment is achieved when we satisfy our need to continuously grow and our need to meaningfully contribute to the world. At times, we get so busy with our daily routine that we forget how important it is to fulfill our need to grow.
This year, instead of subjecting yourself to fail on your resolutions again, let’s go with a new approach. While you’re reading this, mark today as an opportunity to set new habits and behaviors and to continue to pursue them consistently.
Here are my tips on what to do and what not to do this year to help you reach your professional goals.
BEGIN BY FIGURING OUT YOUR CAREER PATH
Take a stock of where you currently are in your professional career path and where you want to be. If you’re past your 50s, you could be in a wide range of places in your career. The great thing is, you’ve already got a lot of experience behind you but there’s also a long way to go. Figure out what you want next.
As hard as it might be, the trick is to sit down and be real with yourself.
Do: Clearly define your goals.
Research shows that a lot of people fail to reach their goals because they don’t set definitive ones. Instead of ambiguous ones such as “grow in my field” or “get better at my job”, set specific objectives. It could be “I want to take the lead on 5 projects this year” or “I want to be promoted to Marketing Director by the end of the year”.
Don’t: Set unrealistic expectations.
Don’t overburden yourself by setting too many goals. Pick one or two specific areas that you want to improve on and work at them. This will ensure you stay focused and you aren’t wearing yourself too thin.
YOUR CURRENT JOB
You might be one of those individuals who love their current jobs and aren’t looking for a major change. If that’s the case, it’s time to figure out how you can grow at your company and get the most out of your job.
Do: Work harder to meet the demands of your job
Practice your skill more. Find out what you can do to drastically improve the quality of your work. No matter how educated or how long you’ve been in a profession, there’s always more to learn.
Don’t: Let the fear of uncertainty or rejection stop you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for more responsibility on projects if you’re confident you can handle it. Or those great ideas you’ve been afraid to share at team meetings. Speak up, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Do: Earn more respect at your office
Take notice of the professional habits of senior leaders you look up to. Dress well and be on time. Try to procrastinate less and use your hours at work more wisely. Having a great work ethic always goes a long way.
Don’t: Indulge in work place gossip
Office gossip and drama is a normal part of every workplace culture. Though you can’t avoid it, you can do your best to stay away from it. Be friendly and helpful to your coworkers but always keep a professional demeanor.
CHANGE IN CAREER
If you’re looking for a new job or a change in career, here’s what you need to focus on this year:
Do: Strengthen your personal brand
A well drafted cover letter and updated resume is key, but having a strong online presence is also a determining factor in today’s hiring process. Make sure your social media profiles are free from embarrassing pictures and content you don’t want your employers finding. Join industry groups online, follow trends and share resourceful articles on your profile. It might be unfamiliar territory, but step out of your comfort zone and establish yourself online.
Don’t: Forget to keep up with technology
Make a conscious consistent effort to stay in tune with the latest technology. There are classes online to help with this. Whether its social media or software updates in your field, you need good technical skills to make advances in your career. Don’t be the person that looks lost when it comes to tech and loses an opportunity to someone younger because you’re afraid of a smartphone.
Do: Build your network
Having a strong network in the industry can be a game changer when it comes to securing a job. Build a strong network of contacts on LinkedIn. Stay in touch with friends and family members that have made great advances in their profession and strengthen your relationship with them. Attend networking events, start conversations with new contacts and grab every opportunity of meeting new people.
Are you happy at your current job but unsure about what your next steps should be? Are you confused about switching a career this late in the game or starting your own business? We all grow through professional cross roads at some point in our lives.
While you’re on the fence about it, here’s what you can do to help steer you in the right way.
Do: Update your resume
Make sure it includes all your achievements and projects over the past year. Highlight new skills you’ve acquired. Consistently keep your resume updated.
Don’t: Forget lessons learned
Look back on everything you’ve learned so far and stay in tune with it. Whether it’s a new skill you’ve learned or something regarding your profession, make sure you practice and stay on top of it.
Do: Get a mentor
If you’re confused about which direction your career is headed, get help. No matter what your age, it’s never too late to get a mentor or a life coach. Find someone with experience that can help guide you.
Don’t: Be afraid of change
Sometimes we get stuck in our comfort zones and are scared to change. Don’t be stuck and don’t settle. As familiar as your current situation is, there’s always more waiting for you, if you want it.
Do: Be prepared for new opportunities
Even if you’re not currently looking to switch, you never know when an irresistible opportunity might come along. Always be proactive with your efforts. Continue to learn and build your skills and grow your network.
A good way to help you stay consistent is to remind yourself that investing time and energy towards improving your skills and career is an investment in yourself and your future.
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