New Year New Me
Setting Yourself Up for Success: 5 Professional Resolutions to Make in 2019
The start of a new year can bring a sense of renewed energy and motivation to set and achieve goals, but how many of us consider our professional goals when we make our resolutions? A person working full time, or at least 40 hours or more per week, spends a majority of their active time in their professional environment in any given week. This thought made me wonder what the most common New Year’s resolutions were and how we might be able to draw from them to set professional goals for the upcoming year. According to Inc.com and their survey of 2000 people, the top New Year’s resolutions for 2019 are as follows:
1. Diet or Eat Healthier (71%)
2. Exercise More (65%)
3. Lose Weight (54%)
4. Save more and spend less (32%)
5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)
6. Quit smoking (21%)
7. Read more (17%)
8. Find another job (16%)
9. Drink less alcohol (15%)
10. Spend more time with family (13%)
None of these resolutions are surprising to me, but I was surprised to see that of the top 10 resolutions the only one that was specifically job-related is to “find another job”. Finding a new job is a great goal for someone who is unhappy in their current position or with their current organization; however, what about the professionals who are happy where they currently are? There is nothing wrong with being content in where you are in your professional journey, but being comfortable in a position can sometimes lead to complacency. In order to support your own professional development, it is important to consider what skills or talents you can work on in order to progress. If you’ve read this far and have come to realization you haven’t considered a resolution related to your professional life don’t stress, there is certainly still time!
Some ideas for professional goals or resolutions you can set for yourself are:
1. Identify one area in your current job that you would like to improve upon.
Maybe you dread completing a monthly report because you need to pull data from various platforms and have difficulty using the software needed to gather the necessary information. You think to yourself, is there a better way to get this done? If I only understood this software better, I know I could easily knock out this task. Perhaps someone else on your team, in your department, or in the company pulls similar reports and can share some tips with you or better yet, maybe they use these programs often to possess certifications in these programs. It never hurts to speak up and use your resources – ask your manager for retraining, consult a coworker, or if you’re feeling embarrassed to ask for help – do a Google search. The chances are you aren’t the first person to face this challenge and there might be some great tutorials available that will make your life a little easier.
2. Seek out one training opportunity that interests you.
Is there a topic you’re passionate about that you think would give you a leg-up in your current role or is there something you are interested in learning more about that could help you expand your skills in your chosen career? Training and development can often be some of the most overlooked aspects for a professional. After completing the day to day tasks in your role, you may not feel as motivated to seek out a training opportunity that could benefit you in your current role or help you get to the next step in your career. I challenge you to seek out training opportunities, whether they are offered by your current employer or offered by a professional organization in your field, a local chamber of commerce, etc. The information you may gain or the connections you may make while attending these opportunities can be invaluable.
3. Create at least one new professional networking connection per quarter.
As the saying goes, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. According to Glassdoor, job applicants who know someone at an organization have an average 2-6% boost over applicants who don’t know any current employees. This isn’t a wildly large number, but when you think about increasing your chances by 5% or that 1 in 20 people got a job offer that they otherwise would not have gotten because of a connection – you might be more motivated to get out and meet people within your industry. If you’re an introvert, making one new professional networking connection a quarter might be a great goal to start and if you’re a social butterfly, consider increasing your goal to one per month. You can find people through local professional organizations, LinkedIn, religious organizations, or in affinity groups you may belong to.
4. Read one career-related or professional development book.
Is there a leader in your industry that you aspire to be like? If so, can you learn more about their lives or learn from them by reading a career-related or professional development book? I’ve often found myself engrossed in the works of Malcom Gladwell (Outliers, The Tipping Point, Blink) and Jim Collins (Good to Great). Maybe you read this suggested goal and immediately thought there is no way I could do that because you don’t have time to read a book. In which case, you may be interested in listening to a book through a platform like Audible or you may be able to find a career-relevant podcast that may benefit you.
5. Review and update your resume.
Finally, all professionals need a resume. When was the last time you updated yours? It’s often one item that can be overlooked when you are happy in your current role, but is still important even if you don’t have any plans to pursue a new opportunity. By regularly reviewing and updating your resume you can ensure all of the information is current and you don’t forget any information that may be important for your future job searches. An added bonus is that if you do come across your dream job, you’ll be prepared to submit your application.
We hope that 2019 brings you lots of success in all of the goals you set both personally and professionally. If you’ve read this far, what goals are you setting for yourself this year and what will you do to put yourself on the best path to achieving those goals? Leave your response in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you.