It is getting to that time of year again, when the Christmas break leads on into New Year, and we challenge ourselves to set and maintain worthy, life improving resolutions. Unfortunately, the reality is that coming up with your resolutions might take longer than the time you then take in January to break them. If you want some career resolutions that will stick, then there are some key rules to follow when planning, to give you the best possible chance of keeping strong when the going gets tough.
If you’re looking to make a positive change you can maintain in the new year, then read on.
#1 Set SMART goals
The idea of setting work or career objectives in a SMART format is nothing new - but this is not how we usually think when considering personal goals and plans. However, the same logic applies and making goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound is as good an approach in your private life as it is in your professional world.
In the case of career goals, pay particular attention to making them achievable and realistic - there is nothing wrong with a stretching goal, but don’t get carried away over and mentally commit to being the CEO in the next 12 months.
#2 Write them down
Research has shown that one of the best ways to achieve your goals is to write them down. The simple act of committing pen to paper can make the goals more tangible in your mind, and help you to stay focussed when there are distractions to throw you off course.
Think about writing your goals down and then sticking them in places you will see them often, such as the inside of your kitchen cupboard, in your smartphone case or on the sun visor of your car. That way, forgetting can’t be an excuse for breaking your resolutions.
#3 Share your resolutions
Another good tip, according to research, to ensure your success is to share your goals with others. Tell your family and friends about your plans, and talk to a supportive boss or colleague to have that same level of help with motivation in work as well as at home.
#4 Make them sticky
Whatever your resolutions, make sure you make them meaningful to you - use a story format, select pictures to illustrate your goals and link them to your senses if you can, as this is a very powerful way of remembering goals.
For example - you could write yourself a few words describing how you will feel when you achieve your goal - perhaps picture the scene in which you are offered that dream job. Think about which restaurant you will go to when you celebrate. Imagine who will be there. By painting a picture so vividly of your success, you will find it easier to continue to work towards your goals even when there are challenges in the way - a bit of positive reinforcement can be all you need to get through a tough patch and stay on track.
The office over Christmas is often an oddly quiet place, with the remaining skeleton staff of people not completely sure how to fill their time and stave off boredom. If you find yourself stuck for something to do, invest the time in thinking about your new year career goals, and how you can personally manage to stick to them, to get 2015 off to a flying start.