Ah, the end of the year — a time for indulging extravagantly before going cold turkey on your biggest vices. Whether that’s the snack drawer at work, binge-watching Game of Thrones or guzzling one too many whiskeys after a long day, you're lucky if that willpower lasts beyond a week.
Don't let another year go by thinking about the things you should do to advance your career. Instead of half-assing your goals this year, make 2017 matter with these New Year’s resolution ideas that will launch your career.
Career-Revving New Year's Resolution Ideas
Resist the Urge to Double-Task
It’s easy to fall into the lure of task-switching. You set out to respond to just one critical email, and 10 clicks later you’re onto a completely new project — unsure exactly how you go there. But the extra brainpower involved in bouncing from task to task can eat up 40% of your productivity, according to the American Psychological Association. And this wasted energy also leads to burnout.
Make 2017 your most productive year yet by saying no to multi-tasking. Start working smarter by centering your focus on one task at a time, and you’ll be surprised how much more you’ll get done this year.
Tackle Your Most Mission-Critical Tasks Before Noon
After evaluating his portfolio companies, Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary cited time management skills as the no. 1 trait of successful entrepreneurs.
Understanding the value of your time and where to wield it most effectively will help progress your career. One way Kevin has learned to eliminate noise is by tackling his 3 most important tasks before noon — and before he checks emails or does anything work-related.
You have endless emails and to-dos competing for your mindshare. Powering through your most meaningful tasks of the day will sharpen your time management skills, center your mind on what's important and ultimately help you get ahead.
Work on Your Confidence
Self-esteem is a proven differentiator of top performers in business. But don't confuse confidence with arrogance. There are small changes you can make to appear more confident while preserving your colleagues' respect.
Making an effort to speak up is a great start. All workplaces have that one employee who has to voice his opinion on every topic. Don't be that guy. Feeling confident to share your ideas and volunteer to take on new projects (while recognizing when to sit back and listen) will make you stand out to higher-ups.
As cheesy as it sounds, when you look confident, you feel confident. Business is stressful, and those heightened feelings lead to excess sweat. Investing in high-quality dress shirts, tailored suits and a sweat proof undershirt like Thompson Tee provides that much-needed layer of confidence.
Start Writing Regularly
Regardless of your industry, writing skills matter. Every sought-after company look for candidates who can communicate clearly and effectively. One way to develop and showcase your communication skills is by writing every day.
Before you get uneasy — know that you don’t have to publish your work for the world to see. Even writing in a stream-of-consciousness style for just 30 minutes a day can bring clarity to issues at work, help organize your thoughts and ultimately make you a better communicator. Once you feel more comfortable sharing your ideas, start publishing on a personal blog or LinkedIn so employers see you’re committed to your career.
Strengthen Your Network
Employers look at your network and involvement as a major value driver. The wider net your connections cast, the more reach the company will have for social sharing and more potential business opportunities you bring to the table.
However, don’t confuse quantity for quality. Employers can see right through a high number of unengaged connections. Dedicate 1 hour each week to catching up with old colleagues, connecting with new people and maintaining relationships to fortify your network and marketability.
Bake Exercise into Your Daily Routine
Eating healthier and exercising more aren’t novel New Year’s resolutions ideas. But instead of setting an arbitrary weight loss goal you won’t follow through on, get specific and actionable with your exercise goals.
Setting an alarm to walk up and down the stairs a few times a day or doing pushups each morning can obliterate stress and help you perform at your best. Make realistic habits like these your new exercise goals so you'll actually do them!
Dedicate Time to Your Education
You’re learning and growing on the job every day. But taking a few hours each quarter to get a new certification, read vigorously on a new topic and sharpen your technical skills goes a long way in advancing your career. You just have to carve out the time to do it.
Tips to Follow Through With Your Resolution
Only roughly 40 percent of people stick to their New Year’s resolution beyond six months, University of Pennsylvania research found. Declaring goals in your head will only take you so far. To make headway on your resolutions, you need to invest time in devising a game plan.
Here’s how to put your New Year’s resolutions within reach:
- Set smart goals: If you're serious about making a change, your goals should be specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic and time-based.
- Create goals with other people: Having accountability partners is a tried-and-true tactic for accomplishing New Year’s resolutions. Assemble a group of friends or family members to create goals. Set key performance indicators (like jogging 3 times a week) so everyone understand what success looks like.
- Break down resolution into bite-size goals: Setting out to lose 30 pounds or read 3 books a month can feel overwhelming at first. Dicing these objectives into quarterly, monthly and weekly priorities makes them more achievable. For instance, how many pages do you need to read each day or week to hit the 3-book mark?
- Reconvene with your group to gauge progress: Most people wait until the end of the year to evaluate their progress. But that’s far too much time that could pass before you make any real headway. Meet with your group each month or quarter to discuss how you did, modify your goals if necessary, dish out rewards and outline new objectives for the month ahead.
- Set rewards: Before embarking on your resolution, create a reward for reaching the finish line — and even crossing each mile marker. For instance, if you set out to hit a certain sales number and you reach it, reward yourself with that new gadget you’ve been eyeing. Having a prize to work toward will provide that extra motivation boost.
We hope these tips help jumpstart your career in 2017. What other New Year’s resolutions ideas do you have to get ahead at work?