Don’t let this year’s resolutions be empty promises to yourself. One of the phrases passed around a lot is "New Year: New Me". I hate that phrase simply because it ignores your past in an effort to create a 'new' version of yourself. Resolutions aren't about re-inventing yourself, they're about reflecting on the past year, and making goals to achieve this year.
New Years is a great to make resolutions; they’re a way for us to look forward to the new year with optimism that is active, rather than passive. It’s a proclamation of how you want the new year to be better and how you’re going to do it. The problem comes when those resolutions are too generic and impossible to measure.
This year, look at your career and set some firm, measurable goals that you can actually track and achieve. Here are 12 workplace goals for the new year that will make it your best work year ever!
1. Do five things to stay healthier at work
Everyone is concerned about health, and losing weight is one of the most common New Year's resolutions out there. You spend a lot of time at work, so consider what you can do for your health while you’re there. Try to think of five simple ways to stay healthier at work, like bringing a sensible homemade lunch, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or getting up and stretch every hour. Think small and you’ll find that those little things add up.
2. Learn a new skill
No matter what field you are in, there are hundreds of new skills you can learn that could benefit your career. Is there one you’ve been wanting to learn? Set it as one of your work goals for the year and get it done. You won’t regret it. If it can enhance your work in your current job, your company might even be willing to pay for it!
3. Clean out your email inbox
If you're anything like me, your email inbox is probably flooded with old, useless emails. But there are also some in there you can’t lose. Organize your email files, sort those emails, and delete what doesn’t need to be there anymore. You’ll feel a little bit lighter every time you log in. Not only that, but organizing your emails into folders will keep you one step ahead all year long.
4. Clean out your physical and digital file cabinets
This harks back to point 3, however many of us have filing cabinets that are filled with old papers that are not remotely relevant to our work anymore. It doesn’t take long to clean them out, and you’ll be glad you did. Take a quick look through those files, recycle what you don’t need, and organize the rest. This goes for your computer files, too.
5. Read one career-related or motivational book
Reading does wonders for your mind. No matter what career you're in, there is a book out there that can improve your performance, your outlook, or your personal habits. Even if you think you already know what you need to know, reading a great book on professional development can give you a new perspective.
6. Sign up to follow one relevant blog
There is a world of free information, insider tips, and great motivational writers online. If not this one, then there are others out there whose writing style you might enjoy more AND get some helpful hints out of. Find a blog that you enjoy, whether it’s specific to your industry or just someone who puts a little pep in your step, and sign up to follow it. Don’t know where to find one? Ask around the office. If you find one your co-workers like, it also becomes a topic for conversation. Win-win!
7. Send at least one thank you note Each month
Sending a handwritten thank you is a great way to show your appreciation and professionalism. It feels good, too! Buy a box of blank thank you notes that you like. Then, each month, think of someone who did something nice for you. It could have been a LinkedIn recommendation, an introduction to a valuable networking connection, a free lunch, or a small, kind gesture at the office. Even if it’s not related to work, sending a thank you to your mother-in-law for the soup she made when you were under the weather will make you feel good about yourself — and that positivity will show in your work.
8. Attend one professional networking event
Networking events are a great opportunity to meet other professionals in your industry that live in your area. You get to make new connections as well as stay on top of what’s happening in your field. Of course, networking events are not comfortable for everyone, so you don’t have to attend them every week. But it is a good idea to put yourself out there at least once per year so you can reap the benefits of these professional gatherings.
9. Join a professional organization
Yes, professional organizations usually cost money. However, the benefits you can receive from the connections you’ll make and what you can learn is often well worth the cost. Look for one that is focused on your favorite part of your career and check out any conferences they hold. A good conference can help you expand your network significantly and boost your work energy for weeks. Not sure how to find a professional association that’s right for you? Start by finding out which groups your colleagues and managers are active in.
10. Measure your work-life balance
We all hear about work-life balance, but how do you measure it? The first step is deciding that you want to see where you are at. Look over your results and maybe discuss them with your family and friends. With the feedback of your loved ones, you can start working towards finding harmony in your work and personal lives. Not only that, many people skip out on personal time or have a stack of unused vacation time. This year, make sure you take the time you need to get the rest you deserve; it will recharge your batteries, and refresh your mind to get you back to being at your peak performance.
Volunteering is a great way to positively affect the world, and it’s also another way you can feel good about yourself. Find a cause that is meaningful to you and sign up to contribute. You can feed the homeless, pick up trash in a park, raise money for a new local pool, whatever you like. If you really want to step up your game, see if you can get your office to make an official event of it and recruit co-workers to volunteer with you.
12. Get one new professional certification
Is there an empty spot on your resume where you wish you could put “XXXX Certified?” Stop wishing and make it happen! This is a great idea for one of your work goals for the new year as it can advance your career. If it costs money, just think of it as an investment in your future. You can do this!
Now that you’ve made your New Year’s work resolutions, it’s time to put these plans into motion and have a great 2019!