Yes, it’s that time of year — the beginning of a new year, and time to buckle down and make resolutions and goals to hopefully change our lives (and our careers) for the better. But did you know that only about 20% of us end up being able to meet those goals or keep their resolutions successfully? Even worse — most of us fail within the first 30 days.
That’s not very many. The key in being one of the 20% however, may lie in how you design your resolutions. Keep the number small and manageable, tell your friends, family, and professional support system about your goals, break your resolution up into smaller parts, and track your progress. Also, and perhaps the most important, if you do fall back into old habits or find yourself not meeting your goals, don’t give up! It’s never too late to get back on the right track.
With these principles in mind, we broke down a shortlist of simple resolutions that can have a big impact on your career or job search this year.
Read a book
Any kind of book — fiction, self-help, biography, historical non-fiction, or a straight up business book. When we read, no matter what about, we expand our minds and often, open up to a fresh perspective that can help inspire you in your work, even if you’re reading fiction. And even if it doesn’t, the digital detox time that comes with reading will help you decompress and return to work the next day far more energized.
So what’s a manageable goal? Try for one whole book a quarter — that’s one every three months. Need help finding a title? Check out the New York Times’s Best Books of 2017 List.
Learn a new skill
Any skill! It’s never too late — no matter what point you are in your career. Learn a new coding language, pick up Adobe Creative Suite skills, or take an online course to learn more about social media or data science.
Or, just like how reading a fiction book may benefit you in your work or job search, learning a “non-work” skill can be beneficial as well. Take a cooking class, a painting class, or music lessons and discover how being creative can lead your mind to new ideas.
Check out coursera.org for course ideas.
Make a positive habit
It can be any habit, but our suggestion? Add a new exercise habit to your routine. We know, we know — it’s a popular resolution that most people fail to achieve. But the key is to start small and manageable: for example, if you’re not a runner, training for a marathon may not be a reasonable goal. Try instead to aim for a 5k, and use apps like Couch to 5k to help break up training for you into achievable, trackable progress. Or try starting with 15 minutes a week, building up to 15 minutes a day, and eventually, longer sessions.
Exercising helps your body regulate energy better, gives your mind and body strength and focus, and builds the habit of investing in yourself. It reduces anxiety, improves your sleep, lowers your stress, and even leads to improved concentration and memory, faster learning, and enhanced creativity.
It may seem like you’re too busy or too tired to exercise, but the beautiful thing about technology is that you don’t even have to leave your home to attend a workout class. From apps to live-streaming yoga, there’s always an opportunity to exercise.
One last piece of advice — make sure you enjoy the exercise activity you choose. Thinking of it like punishment or a chore won’t help you make it a habit.