The New Year is here again and with it comes Resolutions, and its dreaded tagline: “Sticking to Them.” We human beings tend to have a hard time following through on most resolutions we make, usually because they are so far-fetched and unachievable that they’re nearly impossible to accomplish without some baby steps first. Those pounds we vow to lose take more effort than just eating salads for lunch.
To start your professional life off on the right foot this year, here are four resolutions you should aim to keep in 2016 that don’t require any baby steps. Make a promise to yourself to tackle one a month, and then repeat. Soon, you’ll be a professional superstar and well on your way to that dream job you listed on last year’s Resolutions.
1. Learn something new
In order to grow your career, you need to be constantly learning. Whether it’s a new software program or the latest social media management tool, being ahead of the game in your field and industry only proves beneficial. People who stay static in their professional lives don’t advance nearly as quickly and almost always fall behind the times. Remember that “a-ha!” moment you had as a kid when you finally understood a difficult math problem? That satisfaction still happens as adults, and it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
2. Join a professional organization or networking group
Professional organizations were created for many reasons: to provide an opportunity to learn and grow in your profession (see Resolution #1), to gain access to exceptional resources, and to expand your professional Rolodex. You know the saying: “It’s who you know, not what you know.” Networking isn’t nearly as daunting as it seems. Once you realize everybody at your professional event is there for the same reason as you, it becomes far less intimidating to go up to a total stranger and strike up a conversation. So, take a deep breath and go introduce yourself to that top-notch business exec over by the hors d’oeuvres.
3. Drop what’s not working for you and move on
Do you waste countless hours using a product or technique only to have nominal results? Have a customer who won’t return your emails or phone calls? Take a step back and reevaluate what’s working for you and what’s not. It’s not a failure on your part if something isn’t working the way you want it to. Evaluate the situation and if it’s not worth it, let it go. Don’t invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable.
4. Give back
Whether it’s donating your holiday bonus check to your favorite charity or participating in your workplace’s Adopt-a-Family program, giving back to your community provokes a warm and fuzzy feeling that stays with you long-term. Giving back shouldn’t be reserved for just the holidays either – try to do something for someone else every few months. Volunteer, serve on a committee, be a mentor, or set up your bank account to make regular donations to the nonprofit group you’re most passionate about.
Resolution-making shouldn’t illicit grunts and grumbles, and it shouldn’t be reserved just for January either, though that’s when it’s easiest to declare a fresh start. Make a resolution to think outside the box this year and try advancing your professional career. Any attempt to improve yourself is a noble act, so know you’re headed in the right direction. Good luck!