The buzz of the New Year excitement is now just a distant memory and as January rumbles on, many of our good intentions have already fallen by the wayside.
All the plans for the year, the pledges to give up at least one bad habit and kickstart a brand-new approach to healthy eating can seem like a great idea on 1 January – and not so great as the winter drags its weary way onwards.
But digs about visiting the gym regularly, decluttering the house and doing a ‘dryathlon’ aside, it is actually a great time to think how you can give your career a boost – and stick to it. And the good news is, you don’t need to give up cakes and wine to keep this resolution!
Like a healthy body, creating a healthy career is a matter of persistence, consistency and understanding what ingredients you need.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done to reach your career goals. As with many things, it’s a good idea to make a list of manageable steps.
Here are my top tips:
1 Make a plan – and keep reviewing it.
The first thing to do is set your annual goals. Then you can break these down into monthly, weekly and daily aims. Feeling as though you have something to strive for will give you a natural boost and you’ll probably attack every task with all guns blazing.
The trick is to maintain this focus and energy throughout the year – and very few of us manage it. So don’t just set goals at the beginning of the year. Review your plan monthly or quarterly. If you’re employed you could tie it in with personal development reviews from your company, or if you’re self employed then you can carry out your own assessments.
2 Look backwards – and then forwards
Look to the past to see what has worked for you and what hasn’t. This will help you evaluate the approach you took to projects and communications and be objective in your assessment.
Make changes where necessary but also take the opportunity to try something that takes you slightly out of your comfort zone. It will keep you on your toes and you might discover something that suits your working style (or not…)
3 Don’t just plan – act!
If you’ve taken the time to set intentions, it is important to commit to these. Being engaged in what you do on a daily basis has been linked to higher rates of overall life satisfaction as well as better mental and physical health.
Simply speaking, it’s better for you and everyone around you if you are actively embroiled in your work on a daily basis. Engagement is about more than being ‘satisfied’ at work. It’s about doing what you love and what aligns with your goals, so get involved in projects that you’re enthusiastic about.
It’s not your employer’s responsibility to keep you engaged, it’s yours, so make it your mission to seek and create your own sense of satisfaction at work.
4 Know your strengths
There are few things more fulfilling in your career than knowing you’re doing something brilliantly well. The connection between loving what we do and using our strengths every day is massive. Studies have shown that employees who have the opportunity to use their strengths every day are more engaged than those who do not.
Work out what your natural talents are – ask your colleagues, friends or clients where they think your strengths lie and put them to good use.
5 Seek inspiration
We all need a dream. Find people who have followed their dreams and made them reality, and take inspiration from them. Without dreams, our life becomes stagnant and our career suffers. Know what you want out of life and go for it.
6 Don’t neglect the fun
Take a holistic approach to the year ahead – yes, you should have a clear-cut plan of action for your career, but you also need to think about what you want to achieve outside work. It could be learning a new skill, joining a club, or starting to walk or run to work (or part of the way!) a couple of times a week. Think about places you want to visit and have an idea of when you will take time off for holidays or recharging your batteries.
Having things to look forward to will brighten your day and give you a greater sense of purpose.
If your career wasn’t part of your New Year resolutions, then you don’t need to wait until next January. It’s never too late to start trying a new approach. Who knows where it could take you?
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