Considering the fact that 25% of resolutions are abandoned just a week into the new year, the whole concept sometimes feels laughable. But before you dismiss resolutions, consider the flip side: 46% of people keep them for six months, and a determined 8% make it the entire year.
Sticking with a resolution for 12 months might be a statistical long shot, but it’s worth the effort. Research shows that setting goals has motivational benefits, and accomplishing the right goal could have a profound impact on your life. To set a goal that has the most meaning, you should ditch the latest dieting fad and the never-ending quest for perfection and focus on your career instead.
Of course, the content of your resolution will depend on which stage of your career you’re in. The following three suggestions will help guide you toward finding a resolution that provides the right challenge for you.
1. Early career: Contribute to the vision of your workplace.
Too many young professionals approach work as spectators instead of engaged participants. Instead of watching from the sidelines, talk to your direct support about ways you can make a bigger impact in your current role and help the company achieve its vision. Chances are, he or she has already been thinking about it.
Carrie Beckner, a principal at technology consulting firm Pariveda, explains how her company invests in promising college graduates and builds foundations for their growth. “It’s important for us to educate our newest team members on Pariveda’s founding principles as well as our vision yet to come—and offer them direct opportunities to impact that vision.” To ensure your voice is heard, don’t wait until someone asks for your feedback. Resolve to speak up if a project or workflow might benefit from a new approach.
2. Mid-career: Master a challenging skill.
Early in your career, you might have become accustomed to rapid upward movement through the ranks. As you enter the middle of your career, that rise will inevitably slow. After all, when there aren’t as many promotions remaining, it’s going to take longer to earn them. That doesn’t mean you’re not making progress, but it can contribute to a general feeling of stagnation. To shake it, you’ll want to create a resolution that motivates you to keep moving forward.
Challenge yourself by learning a new skill that will benefit your career. Maybe you have an eye on a managerial or even executive position, but you’ve always struggled with public speaking. Prepare yourself for a leadership role by working with a public speaking coach, or step even further outside your comfort zone by attending a standup comedy workshop. No matter what job you’re currently doing, there are skills that will improve your performance. Resolve to make this the year you learn one.
3. Nearing retirement: Get ready to shift gears.
Your age is just a number, and what you do at the retirement stage is entirely up to you and your specific situation. Sit down with your family and your financial advisor and decide what you want retirement to look like. According to a survey by Gallup, 74% of Americans plan to continue working at least part-time past the age of 65. For most of these individuals, this intention is driven by choice rather than necessity.
If you are nearing retirement and already have one foot out the door, don’t forget that working past retirement age doesn’t have to mean working in the same job. You might take your current skills and start working for a nonprofit or learn something new and switch fields entirely. Whatever you want to do, some planning ahead of time will help you land the position you want. When it comes to your retirement, ignorance is most certainly not bliss. This December, resolve to write a script for your second act.
New Year’s resolutions are far from a guarantee, but with the right approach, they can be a powerful way to start directing your energy toward a goal that really matters to you. Instead of following the herd to the gym, chart a new career course this year. Resolve to become the chief executive of your purpose and your path.
Originally posted by William Arruda
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