A new year spells new resolutions and the possibility of building on the year you’ve said goodbye to for a better year ahead. And while resolutions for a healthy mind and body are common and important, as are resolutions for strengthening your relationship with your guy, don’t forget that there’s another aspect that you should improve on as well: your career.
Keep reading for a list of must-do items to keep you on the fast track when it comes to your job.
1. Conduct an annual self-review.
This bright idea is from radical thinker and non-conformist extraordinaire Chris Guillebeau. In his post “How to Conduct Your Own Self-Review,” Chris details each facet of your life you need to reflect on and whatever actions are deemed necessary in order to reach your goals and to create a road map for the new year—all in a tangible, systematic, and doable plan, spreadsheets included.
2. Refresh your personal portfolio.
Have you stopped to review your credentials and your profile? Be sure to review and update your resume as necessary; update your LinkedIn and Jobstreet profiles (or create them if you don’t have them yet); create a personal list of accomplishments and career wins (this will come in handy when discussing a raise with your boss or finding talking points for cover letters and interviews).
3. Invest in training and development.
Never stop developing and sharpening the most important tool in your arsenal—your brain. Continue to learn new things and seek self-improvement. Take up public speaking classes, learn new creative skills such as cooking, writing, even painting or sculpting, experience new physical activities—the opportunities are endless. Reflect on skills and experiences that can not only improve your career but also help hone you into a more holistic, well-rounded individual.
4. Build and expand your connections.
Whether or not your job requires you to regularly interact with colleagues, clients, and customers on a daily basis, you must make sure to hone your interpersonal skills and make a concentrated effort to network. Converse with the people outside of your work comfort zone and consciously connect with others to expand your professional network and to get to know other like-minded people. Keep in mind that career development is often not just about what you know, but who you know as well.
5. Don’t just work hard—work smart!
Bill Gates once said, “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” The underlying message that resounds in his statement is choosing an individual who is able to accomplish a task with the least waste of expended effort, time, and energy—basically, efficiency is key.
6. Be kinder to your body.
Don’t work so hard to the point of exhausting yourself. You are only human, and that means you need an adequate amount of sleep daily, regular intake of healthy food, and least 20 minutes of exercise three to four times a week. If you continue to neglect your body and your health, all your hard-earned income might only go to hospital bills. Be kind to yourself, you are not a robot.
7. Work on your “why.”
Check out Simon Sinek’s TED Talk by on how great leaders inspire action to understand the profoundness in his statement: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Why are you in your current role? Why are you in this point in your career? Why do you get up every morning? Do an intensive self-check on the reasons and whys behind your professional goals and the point you are currently in in your career. Knowing the answers might help lead you to your next steps and help you move toward future goals faster.
Forget blind obedience to your company; yes, you will work hard for your company, but do not let it be at the expense of what is best for your life. In the immortal words of analytical psychology founder Carl Jung, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” Good luck this year, ladies!