Monday, January 1, 2018

5 Resolutions That Could Change Your Career

A lot of people don't like resolutions for the new year because they think it will make them feel like a failure if they don't achieve every item on their list for 2018.

I've always liked resolutions. I like them so much, in fact, that I often make them in July. Or October.

I look at resolutions as my marching orders. I think about what I want to stop doing (driving so aggressively my family is afraid to get in the car with me) or what I want to start doing (being kinder, listening more, keeping houseplants alive).

Resolutions are important because they are promises to yourself. Only you have to know about them -- don't worry about sharing them on Facebook or revealing them at book club. Instead, think of them as a way to focus on what's important to you. If you don't achieve all (or any) of them, so what? You can try again later or decide that cleaning out every closet by the end of the month isn't a good use of your time.

Since I focus on careers and the workplace in this blog, I'm going to offer some ideas for career resolutions in 2018. If you don't want to start them until March, that's OK. If you only want to do a few of them, that's OK. Or, if you'd rather write your own list, that's fine. Just think about these career promises that are aimed at making you more successful -- and hopefully, much happier.

Some resolutions to consider:

1. You will stop being toxic. You will quit whining about everything you don't like about your boss, your job and your team members. If you're miserable, get your resume together or ask to train in another department. Stop shoveling your toxic thoughts onto other people -- if you're unhappy in your career, then it's your job to fix it.

2. Pick your head up. I was talking to a physical therapist the other day, and he says he has seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients with chronic neck and shoulder pain that results from hunching over cell phones and computers. Try putting down your phone and getting out from behind your computer to speak face-to-face to another human being. When you've got your head up, you're much more likely to see the possibilities in front of you.

3. Invest in yourself. Many employees these days say they want more career development opportunities from their employers. While some employers do offer such chances, not all of them do -- or follow through when they say they will. Don't wait on someone else to make you smarter, more valuable, more engaged or more creative. Look into local opportunities to attend business classes -- or even take an art class. Check out online learning or attend a coding bootcamp.

4. Make diverse connections. If you're in marketing, you probably have a ton of marketing LinkedIn connections. But do you have a connection from marine biology? Or public policy? The point is to try and expand your horizons, because only then will you have a wider view that will broaden your opportunities and chances for success.

5. Give thanks more often. Sometimes we get so focused on what we want to achieve or what we don't have that we forget to simply be still and give thanks for what we do have. When you approach your resolutions with an attitude of gratefulness, you will find that your list is a gift to yourself, not a burden.

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