As the new year rolled in, many of us contemplated where we want to go professionally and what we need to achieve those goals. We fancily called these resolutions, but really they are goals that, like any other goal, need a plan in order to be successful. As you mull over your resolutions, consider dedicating yourself to these 5 high-impact decisions for your professional success in the coming year.
I will increase connections. A 75-year long study on human happiness found that those with quality relationships and loving connections enjoyed more success than those with limited connections to others (see TED talk about it here). This goes beyond networking (which is a great first step) and moves towards creating meaningful relationships with others or deepening your connection to those with whom you currently have surface-level interactions. Not only will this boost your mood and outlook, but it will also open the door to more professional opportunities and resources if you allow yourself to get closer to others.
I will complete a career check-up. Set aside a chunk of time to reflect on your current employment. Are you happy? What about your job makes you feel satisfied and challenged, and what parts drain you? Is this job helping you move closer to your long-term goals (do you have long-term career goals)? It’s very difficult to achieve outcomes that are not well-defined. Consider what you hope to achieve professionally in one year and in five years and evaluate where your current job fits on that path. Upon exploration, you might uncover some ways to change the parts of your job you are unsatisfied with or uncover opportunities to stretch yourself in the direction of your long-term plan.
It’s very difficult to achieve outcomes that are not well-defined.
I will use social media wisely. Digital native or not, odds are that you are missing out on some small and easy strategies for increasing your career effectiveness online. Some tips: create and regularly update your LinkedIn profile, using a professional profile photo with a close-up of your face only. Do this also for Twitter and Facebook. Even if you do not use these sites professionally, online searches from potential employers will reveal your Facebook profile photo even if you have high security settings. Follow publications and influencers or thought leaders that are respected in your industry (or desired industry). Share, tag, and comment on content to increase your online presence and build your personal brand.
Share, tag, and comment on content to increase your online presence and build your personal brand.
I will learn a new skill. In thinking about your career goals, consider what new skill could give you a leg up and boost your resume. Perhaps there is a training or certification that you have been eyeing, but you have not yet set aside time for it. One quick trick is to check the profiles of other peers and leaders in your industry to see what they have on their list of skills. Does anything of interest stand out for you? If you have a topic area of interest but aren’t sure where to begin or don’t have extra funds for training, search for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) through places like Coursera and edX where you can take free online courses offered by the best universities and faculty around the world.
I will take care of my body. This means getting adequate sleep, having balanced and healthy meals, and appropriate liquid intake (enough water and not too much alcohol or caffeine). Your body is the vessel that allows you to succeed and it thrives when treated well. Most adults need about eight hours of sleep for optimal performance. To find your personal ideal amount of sleep, take note of your most energetic and rested days and identify how many hours you slept the previous night. Health trackers like the FitBit are also great tools for tracking the quality and duration of your sleep to gather effective data for making decisions about when to send yourself to bed, despite the length of your To-Do list. Do your best to maximize the intake of natural, fresh foods and limit your intake of processed and fried foods. Also limit foods with chemicals in the ingredients list and aim for foods with low sugar content. Remember to stay moving throughout the day. Sitting for hours on end has been linked to heart disease and obesity so get up and walk around every 90 minutes to stay energized and healthy.
The clock is ticking. Get started now on creating a year that you will be proud of!
Adapted from my original post here: Resolutions for Professional Success in the New Year