It’s that time again. Love them or hate them, new year’s resolutions are on many people’s minds this time of year.
While many of new year’s resolutions probably focus on health and mindfulness, work is a big part of all our lives and most of us want to advance our careers — or at least our paychecks! Whether your career resolutions this year involve getting out there more for networking or simply raising your hand for a challenging, “reach” assignment, here are four ways to make sure you follow through with your resolutions to reach your career goals in 2018:
- Translate your resolution into a habit.Habits are powerful and making something a habit is the best way to stick to it. Once a behavior becomes a habit, you no longer have to think about it and reflexes are easier to maintain than something you have to remind yourself to do. Research shows that habits shape many aspects of our lives and consciously changing our behavior patterns can be a powerful mechanism for achieving our goals.
- Make it a social career goal.There’s a reason many fitness apps include a social element. Social support can help you stay on course with some peer pressure. Another way of looking at it is that you’ll get support when things feel hard, or perhaps simply less alone in your struggles. As an example, if one of your career goals in the new year is to gain more visibility at work, commit to speaking up more at meetings and tell a colleague who may share that goal so that you’re both reinforcing it during meetings you’re both in.Just as an exercise buddy can help you stay accountable to making it to the gym regularly, making sure supportive people are clued into your career goals can make it easier to stick to your plan.
- Use a commitment device. A commitment device doesn’t have to be as draconian as it sounds. It can be as simple as scheduling networking lunches for the quarter in advance on a certain date or setting calendar reminders to ask a prospective mentor to coffee. Think of it as setting an alarm to remind you to do certain things you told yourself you wanted to do. Maybe its finally setting up a personal blog or writing a post per month on LinkedIn to establish your thought leadership in a certain area.
- Break up a goal into smaller parts.Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about a goal that might truly take a year. You may be tempted to give up sooner if you set longer term, less realistic goals than ones that are more modest but closer-in in terms of timelines. Instead of setting a goal that takes a whole year to execute, consider thinking of how to break up that goal into weekly, monthly or even quarterly milestones for more practical execution.
Many women in the Fairygodboss community want things that most of us can relate to: better pay, a fair shot at promotion and a decent work-life balance. If any of those goals are on your radar for 2018 you’re far from alone. By using these four suggestions, however, you may be one of the rarer creature that actually ends up keeping your new year’s resolutions.