15 resolutions to make for your career: bad habits to drop in 2016
It’s unavoidable – the new year has arrived, and those “New Year, New You” posts and 2015 wrap-up collages have littered your Facebook timeline.
Maybe you’re hesitant to set a resolution because the last few times you set out to lose 20 pounds by the end of January, the only thing you lost was your sense of pride.
Perhaps it’s time to make a resolution to, well, make a different kind of resolution.
How about your career? You don’t need to create a whole new you to turn 2016 into a successful year for your job – and, as an extension, your dignity.
Here are 15 resolutions, as well as a few bad habits you can drop, to ensure that this year will be better and brighter than the last one.
1. Make a List of Your Goals
You don’t go to the grocery store without a list, right? If you’ve tried, you always realize you forgot something. How about a list of career goals for the new year? Think back to what made you happy at work in 2015, and also reflect on what didn’t – those are things you want to change.
Maybe you’d like to assume more responsibilities at the office, or perhaps you finally want to score that promotion. Whatever your goals, writing them down can help you figure out what you want to get out of the new year and your career.
2. Revisit Your Resume
You never know when that dream promotion will come along. When it does, you want to be ready to impress. So make sure to update your resume and your professional profile on LinkedIn.
It wouldn’t hurt, either, to send a friendly greeting to your references this year, especially to ensure you have their updated contact information. You never know when they could come in handy.
3. Learn a New Skill
Expanding your area of expertise can do wonders for your career development, especially if you work in a niche field.
Consider taking a job-related course to learn a new technical skill, or even attend a professional conference to increase your knowledge base. Chances are your company has the training budget to help you out.
4. Network, Network, Network
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you can find plenty of opportunities to network this year, especially with the popularity of social media.
Connecting with influential users on LinkedIn, for example, can help you build your professional network quickly by giving you the chance to interact with like-minded people with similar interests.
5. Increase Your Productivity
Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, you’ve got some apps for that. You can use modern technology to manage your effectiveness and your time, both inside and outside of the workplace.
Wunderlist is one free app that can enhance your productivity by making it extremely easy to create lists – and you’ve already learned the benefits of making a list.
6. Maximize Your Time
Speaking of productivity, practice some self-awareness this year and assess the hours you are the most productive at work.
Not everyone is a morning person, so arriving at the office at 7 a.m. can’t be doing you – or your boss – any favors. Talk to your manager about taking on a more flexible work schedule in 2016.
7. Stop Complaining
Let’s face it: We all need to vent sometimes. Often, this complaining takes place at the water cooler or by the office coffee pot – or, more likely, the Keurig machine.
However, complaining can hurt your career in many ways, including by inhibiting your creative side. So instead of venting at the workplace, consider visiting a therapist or career coach to express your woes.
8. Just Say No
If you’re used to being a people-pleaser, don’t worry – you’re hardly alone.
If you say yes to every one of your boss’s demands, though, you could be setting unrealistic expectations that will eventually make your life miserable.
Sometimes, it is OK to say no at work.
9. Confront Your Other Bad Habits
Complaining and saying yes are probably not your only bad habits.
Your job can be a major source of stress, so maybe you’ve coped with this stress by drinking or smoking a little too much.
You don’t have to give up these habits cold turkey, but consider reducing your cigarette use or alcohol consumption in 2016. Especially if you plan to eat healthier this year, remember that alcohol can sabotage your diet because it just provides your body with empty calories.
10. Communicate Better
Effective communication is one of the most important professional skills, so consider fine-tuning your workplace communication this year.
Even if that means just paying quicker attention to your e-mails, your boss might thank you and you also won’t miss that message about a potential promotion.
11. Manage Up
You’ve heard of the Peter Principle, right? It’s the theory that people in the workplace typically rise to their individual levels of incompetence.
Whether or not that applies to your own boss, you can be a better employee by taking a proactive role at the office and “managing up.” Make sure you and your boss are on the same page about expectations, and do it before your annual performance review comes up.
12. Sell Yourself, Not Your Soul
You know you’re a hard worker, and you’ve also developed certain skills along your career path. Plus, you’ve also brought your natural talents to the table – or cubicle desk.
Don’t be afraid to brag about these accomplishments. Selling yourself at work can really help your networking and career-climbing goals by drawing much-needed attention to the ways you shine.
13. Get a Raise!
Speaking of selling yourself, you know you’ve deserved that salary increase for far too long – but you’ve just been afraid to ask.
Asking for a raise seems intimidating, but you’ve earned the boost to your paycheck. Consider tapping into that bottled-up confidence and have that crucial conversation with your boss in the new year.
14. Prepare for Change
Even if you love your job and your employer, there may be a position out there that’s an even better fit for you and your interests. You don’t know it because you haven’t bothered to look.
Since you’ve already updated your resume and built your LinkedIn network, why not take a chance and search for a better job in your field?
15. Take a Break
A break? What break? You’re a busy professional, so that seems inconceivable.
However, you also know that no one’s tombstone ever read, “I wish I spent more time at the office.”
Learn how to put yourself first and schedule your necessary me time, whether that involves an endorphin-boosting workout or just a catch-up session on that elusive thing called sleep.
Don’t Drop the Ball!
Sure, Times Square dropped the ball on New Year’s Eve, but that’s the one day per year that it’s acceptable.
Stick to your resolutions and drop your bad habits, inside and outside of the office, instead.