The New Year is a great time to take stock of your professional accomplishments and shortcomings and set ambitious goals for the following year. Here’s my top 5 list of professional New Year’s resolutions to get you on the path toward a successful year:
1) Set Ambitious Goals: It is a lot easier to get somewhere when you actually know where you want to go. New Year’s is a great time to set your goals for the coming year. Think about what you would most like to achieve in school, in your job search or in your professional life and set them as your target goals for the coming year. Make sure to write your goals down so you are 100% clear on what you plan to accomplish.
2) Develop a plan: People often joke about how quickly they abandon their New Year’s resolutions. The best way to avoid falling short is to create a detailed plan of how you will reach your goals. Break down your goals into manageable pieces. Set specific monthly targets and timetables and schedule a few hours at the end of each month to make sure you are still following your plan and to make adjustments when necessary.
3) Don’t allow let-downs to let you down: We all fall short. Even the best laid plans don’t always work out the way that we intended. Too many people give up on their goals at the first sign of trouble. Things will go wrong over the course of the year, but don’t give up and don’t get down on yourself. You may have to work harder for a few weeks to get back on your planned schedule, but that is much better than giving up.
4) Chart your weekly accomplishments: It is a great idea to keep a spreadsheet listing your major accomplishments for every week. Whether those accomplishments are related to your big picture goals, or smaller goals like doing very well of an exam or landing a coveted job interview, mark it down in your spreadsheet. Looking back, you will be amazed at how much you actually accomplished. In addition, a weekly spreadsheet can be an excellent motivator to make sure you have at least one accomplishment to include for every week.
5) Reward your success: Rewards are a great incentive. Don’t forget to celebrate your major accomplishments along the way. Yes, there is always so much more that we want to do, but a small reward for a job well done will reinforce your success and help keep you motivated. Even small things like dinner at your favorite restaurant or tickets to a sporting event can provide a great incentive to keep going and attain your goals.
Have a happy and productive New Year!