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New Year, New Goals: 10 Career Resolutions You Can Keep

New Year, New Goals: 10 Career Resolutions You Can Keep

As we transition to the new year, the majority of us look to develop resolutions to evolve both professionally and personally.

But if you’re like most people, that also probably means seeing those resolutions fly out the window before Valentine’s Day (if you’re lucky).

It’s great to make resolutions; they’re a way for us to anitcipate the new year with optimism that is active, rather than passive. It’s a declaration of how you want to grow and how you’re going to do it. The problem comes when those resolutions are too generic and impossible to measure.

This year, look at your career and set some firm, measurable goals that you can actually track and achieve. Here are 10 workplace goals for the new year that will make it your best work year ever.

1. Increase your healthy habits at work

Wealth begins with health. Maximize what you can do for your health during the 8 plus hours you spend working every day. Take active measures to pack your lunch, which will benefit both your wallet and waistline. Small but direct measures like choosing the stairs or parking a little farther to add a walk to your routine get your blood pumping. For those working from home, stretch every hour, and consider switching your office chair for an exercise ball. Think small and you’ll find that those little things add up.

2. Create at least two new professional networking connections per month

Increasing your network is vital to personal and professional relationship growth. Take the time to intentionally expand your network by making it a point to exchange business cards and LinkedIn profiles as you go throughout your daily outings, events, and interactions. Try to find at least two people per month to add to your LinkedIn connections and watch your network blossom.

3. Send at least one thank-you note per month

Sending a handwritten thank you is a genuine way to demonstrate your appreciation and professionalism. It feels good, too! Keep a supply of thank-you notes that you like to send to someone who did something nice for you. It could have been a LinkedIn recommendation, an introduction to a valuable networking connection, a free lunch, or a small, kind gesture at the office. Even if it’s not related to work, sending a thank you to spread gratitude to anyone in your life will reflect — and that positivity will show in your work.

4. Sign up to follow one new blog/podcast

With a world of free information, insider tips, and great motivational writers online, valuable knowledge and content is at your fingertips. Find a blog that you enjoy, whether it’s specific to your industry or simply stimulating content, and sign up to follow it. Don’t know where to find one? Ask around the office. If you find one your co-workers like, it also becomes a topic for conversation. Win-win!

5. Read one career-related or motivational book

No matter your career field, there is a book out there that can improve your performance, your outlook, or your personal habits. Even if you think you already know what you need to know, reading a great book on professional development can give you a fresh perspective.

6. Update your resume

When is the last time you gave your resume a thorough look-through to gauge its relevence and style?  Is the information correct? Make it a work goal for the year to review and edit your resume, even if you don’t plan on applying anywhere. It’s always best to update your resume periodically before you lose track of the information you need.

7. Get a new professional headshot

If you cringe every time you look at your profile photo on LinkedIn, then consider the new year to be a great time to invest in a new one. Depending on your career goals and the type of company culture you like best, your profile photo may be casual or professional in its nature. The key is to select a photo that is high quality — at least 400 x 400 pixels, no larger than 8MB in file size, and does not exceed 20,000 pixels in height or width. Most importantly, you want a picture that truly represents who you are both personally and professionally.

8. Get one new professional certification

Is there an empty spot on your resume where you wish you could put “XXXX Certified?” Stop wishing and make it happen! This is a great idea for one of your work goals for the new year as it can advance your career. If it costs money, just think of it as an investment in your future.

9. Volunteer

Volunteering has many benefits and is a meaningful way to positively impact your community and causes you are passionate about. Find a cause that is meaningful to you and sign up to contribute. You can feed the homeless, pick up trash in a park, raise money towards educational aims, or anything else that resonates. If you really want to step up your game, see if you can get your office to make an official event of it and recruit co-workers to volunteer with you….many corporations match personal employee’s contributions.

10. Step up your Networking Game

Make it a point to attend networking events for professional organizations related to your interests. Shop around to join the right organization for you and increase your professional memberships, volunteerism, and leadership roles to hold yourself accountable in developing your network.

Now that you’ve made your New Year’s work resolutions, it’s time to put them to action and see them come to fruition!


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