New Year resolutions that will jump-start your career

At the end of each year, most of us make resolutions of the things we want to accomplish in the coming year.

At the end of each year, most of us make resolutions of the things we want to accomplish in the coming year.

For the professionals, it could be raising the bar to climb the career ladder, land a new job, earn and save more money or lose weight.

This practice is the norm around this time of the year, as people want go into the New Year with goals they hope will drive their career in the right direction for the next 12 months.

Experts advise that though most career-related resolutions are always reactions to things we want to change in our lives, you should also consider some aspirational, desirable resolutions.

Also, creating an actual plan will help you stick with your career-related goals for the year, advises Shawnice Meador, a US-based career management and leadership development consultant.

To increase chances of sticking to your resolutions, prioritise your list and don’t try to take on too much at any one time, she adds.

Hereunder are some tips on how can do to jump-start your career this year:
 
Reduce stress

Ask yourself if the stress is coming from outside sources (your supervisor, colleagues) or if it’s self-induced. You could perhaps be putting too much pressure on yourself.

If so, step back and start with the simple things like sleeping and exercising more, advises Andy Teach, the author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time. “Don’t place the weight of the world on yourself. You can’t do everything, so don’t try to,” he adds.

Another excellent way to reduce stress is to gain better control by managing up, says Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert.

Here is your opportunity in 2014 to take your boss by the proverbial hands and set meetings, goals, and your agenda. “If you are reactive, don’t be surprised if you also are more stressed out, juggling more than you can handle. But if you present logical to-do lists and provide leadership, you will thrive.”

Note that this resolution is different for everyone because we all have different stress triggers and favourite ways of relaxing.

“Know what works for you. Maybe it’s walking around the block, calling a friend, playing online for five minutes or breathing deeply. Do your best to fit that de-stressor into your day on a regular basis.”

Improve your relationship with the boss/co-workers

If there is one relationship that you should constantly be focused on, it is your relationship with your boss, Teach says.

“They control your destiny, so it is important that you develop a strong professional relationship with them and to work at improving it.”

How do you accomplish this? It all comes down to communication. Stay in touch with your boss throughout the day by letting them know about your progress on important projects. Let them know that you are there to help them in any way possible. Ask them how you can be better at your job and what their expectations are. Anticipate your boss’ needs and, by focusing on them, you should be able to improve your relationship with him, he says.

Co-operation with your co-workers is also critical.

Make an effort to get to know your co-workers better and offer your help when they need it. Keep in mind that it is in your best interest when the entire team looks good, not just you.

Have a better attitude

A positive attitude can bring you great career success in 2014.  “The resolutions I hear all the time, like make more money, get a promotion, do work I love, be a better networker, are more likely to happen if you have a more positive attitude,” Lindsey Pollak, a career expert, says.

“People want to do business with people who are proactive, positive and enthusiastic. so, a good attitude will likely attract more people and opportunities your way.”

Improve your work-life balance

“Get clear on what your boundaries are, and stick to them so your colleagues start to know how best to work with you,” Pollak says.

If you work late every night, vow to leave the office earlier. “Many people work long hours every day, which infringes on their personal life,” Teach says. You could come in earlier to create more time to do your tasks.

Another solution is to delegate more. “If you’re a supervisor, try giving your subordinates more work so that you will have less,” Teach says. “You can also try to prioritise better. Don’t try to please everyone because then you’ll end up pleasing no one. Work on the most important projects and realise that you can’t finish everything in one day. There’s always tomorrow.”

Be more organised

“Getting a head start on organisation coming into the New Year is wonderful. However, maintaining it is a little more difficult,” Meador says. “Don’t overwhelm yourself into a whole new way of doing everything. Rather, focus on one or two key areas where you want to be more organised and maintain them throughout the entire year.”

There are two key areas that are important to keep organised in all jobs: your calendar and your desktop, she says. Once you get a system that helps manage your time effectively, you will be able to accomplish more at work, which will make you better at your job.

Your desktop is a direct reflection on how you manage your job, and management and executives do pay attention to this, Meador says.

“Your office or desk is the first impression for anyone that is working with you to see how you manage your workload and how you take pride in your professional presence,” she notes.

Keeping a clean and organised workspace can also help reduce stress.

“It’s much easier and less stressful when you can easily find important projects and papers on your desk,” Teach says. If not, this could hurt your work efficiency and productivity.

Good luck, and have a prosperous New Year, 2014.

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