Once again, it’s that time to establish your career goals and resolutions for the coming year. However, some resolutions are harder to keep than others. For example, you’ve resolved that your new job is going to be smooth sailing only to find out the boss’s nickname is "Ivan the Impaler." Or you may be comfortable in your present position, but not exactly in sync with the boss, or she with you, (e.g., your preoccupied boss knows that you’re a vegan, but just enrolled you in the Steak-of-the-Month club for your top sales numbers).
How can you ensure you stay with your career goals once 2013 departs and 2014 is upon you? Here are some tips to help you stick to your guns and navigate through rough and rocky waters during the coming year.
Tips on 2014 Career Resolutions
1. Get Clear — Nothing will unglue your resolutions faster than unclear goals. Write down both short- and long-term objectives as precisely and detailed as possible. Make them realistic and reachable, as goals are easier to accomplish when you’ve created a clear outline or blueprint. Accomplishing “little” daily goals will give you the confidence to go for those career-enhancing, long-term goals.
2. Play the Game — Once you’ve got your game plan down, start playing. You probably know someone who buys the exercise equipment, then uses it to hang clothes on. You may also know people with a daily checklist who tend to accomplish their goals. Whatever your resolutions are, following a targeted path allows you to keep track of your accomplishments and stay motivated.
3. Work Smarter – Become diligent in establishing and updating priorities. Understand that the more flexible your mindset, the more likely you’ll handle urgent matters first and less crucial matters later. Maximize your skills set with the projects that align best with them.
4. Stop Expecting the Impossible — You might have to catch yourself a little bit every day — either deciding to become more realistic about your day's goals — or choosing to be less perfectionistic in how you perform them. If you reset your thinking to what's realistic, and share those expectations with your boss, you're more likely to feel greater success in your work endeavors.
5. Follow Your Passions – If you’re looking for a job, you may be happy just to get the interview in 2014. But you might also think, “How can I find a position that will be in line my true career passions?” Don't settle; and follow your gut feelings. Choose thoughtfully, or you might find "Ivan" awaiting you.
6. Get More Out of Your Current Employer — You may be able to modify your job description within the same company and do more of what you enjoy. The firm has invested in you and a slight shift in your role and responsibilities might be a win-win. Don’t overlook the possibilities.
7. Delegate More — Know that there are times to delegate projects that are outside your scope. Learn to part with pet projects that don’t bring the results you’re expected to achieve. Avoid being distracted from the goal you set at the beginning of the year – unless there's a corporate shift in direction. It’s easy to stray when other opportunities arise. But if you have the latitude to delegate or choose, use that authority to help keep yourself on track.
8. Take the First Communications Leap — Being a better communicator is always a worthy New Year’s resolution. Consider joining a local Toastmaster club or adult education class for enhanced presentation skills. (You’re first speech can be about the thrill of feeding your dog a different steak every month!)
9. Make Presentations Top-Notch – The best ideas on the planet will remain stagnant if you can’t package and persuade. Oral and written communications and being able to think on your feet will help advance your career significantly. Lighten up your presentations and leave ‘em smiling.
10. Let Stress Flow By – One excellent way to reduce stress is to gain control by managing up, especially with difficult bosses. Most managers barely have time to get their job done, save overseeing yours, and they may be unaware of the fallout from their actions. Your frustrations may stem from a feeling of being stuck. You can address this by being a proactive problem solver. Help your boss see the broader perspective, for example, by using some tried-but-true, positive and negative reinforcement techniques. Try setting limits to bad boss behavior in 2014 through diplomacy and leadership.
While most people make some strides towards their New Year’s Resolutions, rarely are employees 100% successful at achieving all of them. However, if you stay vigilant year-round and keep your goals at the forefront all year, you'll look back with pride when 2015 arrives.