Stick To Your Professional New Year Resolutions

By Jamie Davidson · January 10, 2019

2019 is finally here and back to work water cooler cavorting is rife with New Year’s resolution banter. Who’s getting healthy? Who’s saving more money? Who’s vying for a promotion? Did you know that resolutions don’t just have to be personal in nature? Creating professional resolutions and sticking to them can result in accelerated growth for your career and your company.

As you likely know (some of us from experience), most people don’t follow through with their resolutions. Promises and freshly set goals are ditched just a few weeks into the new year. And as work piles up, they become less and less achievable. That’s why we have outlined four achievable professional resolutions for the new year and how you can stick to them.

Set Yourself Up for New Year’s Resolution Success

New Year’s resolutions are a tradition that people engage in every single year. Though, whether the resolution is personal or professional, it’s often hard to stick to. 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. By the end of the new year, just 8% of people have achieved their New Year’s resolution. In the words of Tony Robbins, a new year is a chance at a new life. Planning a New Year’s resolution is critical to accomplishing it. Without proper planning, a resolution will be unachievable.

A great place to start is by listing out major goals for your professional career at your current job and in the near future. For example: Get promoted to Senior Salesperson. This career goal is attainable. But how? The key is to break down your resolution into achievable sub-goals. Manageable action items for receiving that sales promotion could be landing a new client or bringing in a certain amount of revenue per quarter. Can these be broken down further? For instance, “Develop my own, unique and personalized sales pitching process” is a way to support the sub-goals. Once you break down your major resolution into more actionable items like the example above, you have a manageable path to success. Now that you have made your overall resolution and achievable goals, how do you stick to it?

How To Stick to Resolutions

Sticking to resolutions can feel overwhelming as if the odds are against you. It’s not always a lack of willpower or inability that keeps you from your convictions. Instead, it’s an error in how you are structuring your resolutions. Let’s fix that. Here are some great solutions that will help you crush your resolutions this year.

1. Put Resolutions On An Achievable Timeline

Don’t resolve to “Be the CEO” if you just started at the company. Instead, your goal could be to land a big project and receive recognition for it. The strategy is to put your goals on a realistic, achievable timeline. For example, landing a big project in the next two months is far more realistic than getting promoted in 6 months. Make smaller, more digestible steps and allow yourself to achieve these goals on a schedule. Use your calendar to plan milestones and track progress. Start by planning the prospective end-date of the primary goal.

Work backward and add reminders in your calendar in the weeks and months leading up to your end goal. Insert sub-goals that you can check-off as you progress towards your goals.

2. Stick to One Resolution at a Time

The new year brings inspiration, competition, and the feeling of bettering oneself. This can lead us to be overzealous. Making multiple resolutions seems like a great idea – until you attempt to accomplish too many at once. Work and personal life can get busy, so be sure to create resolutions that you badly want. Make a list of potential resolutions and sort them by the following characteristics:

  • Priority
  • Difficulty to uphold or achieve
  • Realistic timeline

Doing so will help you pick the right resolution to start with. Choosing many at once can lead to distractions and add stress in a time that is meant for personal growth and development. Pick one at a time and keep your stress to a minimum!

3. Be Your Own Cheerleader

A surefire way to ensure that you uphold your goals and resolutions for the new year is to be proud of yourself. Too many times we are hard on ourselves for not achieving primary goals quickly enough. Don’t forget to reward yourself for the small accomplishments also. At the same time, acknowledge that mistakes happen and setbacks occur. Did you miss a workout last week? Did it take longer than expected to close that deal? Don’t beat yourself up or give up on your goals. Accept the mistake and treat each day as a new opportunity. Resolutions aren’t mad because they are easy. Reward yourself along the way, and progressing toward your goal will be emotionally satisfying too.

Professional, Career-Developing Resolutions for 2019

Still stuck on which resolution to address first? Having writer’s block about the annual goal that’s right for you? No problem. Without further ado, here are four professional resolutions you can implement in the new year to take your career to the next level.

1. Be More Efficient

There are countless things you do on a daily basis that are mindless, tedious and take up 10-15 minutes here and there, adding hours of non-productive time to your work schedule. Efficiency is a key aspect of advancing your career and professional development. Automate these daily tasks to save hours each week. The faster you can complete work while maintaining quality, the better! Look for ways to automate simple processes you do at work such as:

  • Sifting through junk emails
  • Finding the urgent emails you need to respond to
  • Forgetting to write down tasks
  • Creating new to-do lists from calendar invites

All of these tasks can be automated to save you time. A tool like Zapier can improve efficiency and cut down time spent on menial tasks. Check out their guide on how you automate your email inbox. Using IFTT can help various software connect and automate tasks for you. Explore IFTT’s guide to five ways you can work smarter, not harder.

Speaking of smarter, two heads are better than one. Take advantage of platforms that bring together team members and connect remote workers for brainstorming and project collaboration. Avoid unnecessary internal emails and out of office travel by using a quality conference calling service that will save you time and your company money.

2. Start Workplace Workouts

Yes, this too is a professional resolution. While working out might seem like a resolution made for your personal benefit, it can have significant impacts on your professional career as well. Like me, you are probably sitting at your desk right now and may be for consecutive hours of the day. Did you know that people who move more often are far more productive and effective at their jobs? Working out and being active helps every aspect of your life, from overall health to confidence and performance. Finding the time to complete a workout is no easy task. You work long hours and may have little to no energy at the end of the day for a post-work workout. Thankfully, you don’t need to have a gym membership or hit fitness classes at night or early in the morning to kickstart your active lifestyle. Instead, do office workouts! Check out this fantastic list of office workout routines you can implement for the new year or try the examples below. Every time you take a bathroom break, do 5-10 of these chair squats or chair ab exercises before you sit down, then continue your work.

Do a few of these each day, and you can get in a great office workout that improves your health and professional life.

3. Learn One New Piece of Information Every Day

Learning new things every day can be inspiring. Are you applying this goal in your professional life? I know you are busy with work and stressed out with emails, deadlines, and bosses asking for the latest reports. But if you want that promotion and to continually grow in your space, you’ll need to be up-to-date with the most recent developments in (and outside of) your industry. Acquiring at least one new piece of knowledge can skyrocket your growth potential and value in your company. Here are a few places to kickstart your brain growth.

Download a podcast and listen to it during your commute to and from work.

Another great way to learn new things in your niche is by starting a Feedly account. Feedly allows you to select specific topics or industries, and then curates the top content in that space, delivering it right into your account. This way, you don’t have to search Google for hours to find the most relevant content for you. Simply check your daily feed and read new articles to acquire more knowledge in your chosen space!

These are just two vehicles for your personal continuing ed. Check out this list of 40 different places to learn new tidbits, topics, and talents so you can advance to the head of the class.

4. Set Aside Time for Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is critical to a healthy, well-functioning brain. As kids, we have time and permission to explore fun, creative activities like writing, building, designing and daydreaming. But, 75% of people know that they are not living up to their current creative potentials. And studies show that we are 96% less creative than we were as children. Why? Because we aren’t allowing ourselves the space to be original anymore. Unless your job revolves around creativity, you likely don’t have a set time to let your mind be free. This can limit your potential to generate new business ideas, tactics, or strategies. Set aside 15-20 minutes a day to journal, brainstorm, and initiate creative thinking.

Consider buying a physical journal that you can draw in, write down brainstorm thoughts, or journal your daily experiences. If you prefer to type, you can use journaling apps on your mobile phone, like Day One Journal. This provides a simple, free way to jot down journal notes throughout the day and add photos, health data, tags, and more.

If you type on a computer, try using free software like Evernote to start your journal and creative process. Check out this comprehensive list of journal apps that you can use to harness your creative mind. Depending on whether you like to type or physically write out information during your creative time, choose the tool that fits you best.

Sticking to Your Resolutions After February

New Year’s resolutions can either be an empowering tradition or a burden that adds stress and another To Do to your plate. Though resolutions will often fail by February, and less than 10% come to fruition by the end of the year, this doesn’t have to be you! A good resolution merely takes a little bit of planning and a few practical principles to make them stick.

What are your resolutions for the new year? Share your resolutions and how you plan to make them stick and tag us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.


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