How to make better, smarter, longer-lasting career resolutions.
Only about 20% of New Year resolutions make it past January. Come March, that number plummets to near zero.
So how do you make key changes in your life, without succumbing to self-sabotage or – worse yet – without simply losing interest? For starters, consider committing to your resolutions a few days or weeks before January 1st; that way you avoid the gimmick and can actually focus on the work.
Beyond that, check out these little-known strategies to boost your resolution success:
Take the long-view: plan three years in advance.
Try to imagine what you want your life to look like in 2021. Will you be at the same company? Will your role have drastically changed? How many children will you have, if any? How will that impact your work and available time?
Orienting your resolutions around a larger image – a picture of your life in the future – will help you better understand the actions you need to take to meet your goals. What do you need to do today to make that life a reality?
Focus on behaviors > results.
Instead of vowing to make Partner by next year, identify the actions and behaviors of other partners, and track the steps they took to build their careers. Better yet, find yourself a mentor who can walk you through those steps and guide your choices. They’ve done it before; they know what’s required.
Holding yourself to specific behaviors – instead of goals – is more manageable, rewarding, and will ultimately lead to better success. It’s hard to become partner; but it’s easier to hit a certain performance goal, or book monthly meetings with a manager to assess your progress.
Schedule the work in your calendar.
If it’s not in your schedule, you probably won’t do it. Don’t reserve your calendar for meetings and appointments; carefully schedule your ‘in-between’ time to better integrate new habits. Want to spend X amount each week on month-end reports? Add it to your schedule. Need to hit certain numbers to be considered for a promotion? Allocate time each day, week, or month for working on that specific task.
It may seem tiresome, but block scheduling is actually much easier on your brain. Next time you look at your calendar, you won’t have a sinking feeling of ‘what do I do now.’ It’ll all be laid out for you – no thinking necessary.
Be optimistic & realistic.
Positive affirmations may be overblown, but adopting an optimistic mindset can truly help you accomplish your goals. Studies show that optimistic people are luckier, make more money, and take more risks that actually pan out.
On the flipside, it’s important to realize your limitations and make goals that can be accomplished. No amount of optimism will get you from entry-level newbie to director-level in a single year. But the power of positivity can help you achieve objectives you didn’t think possible; so long as they are within the realm of possibility. So focus on the bright side!