January can sure seem like a drag. Of course, you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions, and are diligently (or not so diligently…) sticking to them, but maybe you’re not applying the “new year, new me” mindset to all aspects of your life.
While it is important to have goals for your personal life, fitness, family, and finances, it is also important to rededicate yourself professionally in the new year. There is no better time to audit yourself and make steps to become your personal best this year.
Reflect on Your Habits
Be your own critic and go through your typical schedule, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly, and identify areas of strength and weakness. Maybe you come in Monday mornings feeling ready for the week, but by Thursday you’ve hit a slump. Try to brainstorm ideas on how to help yourself when you’re feeling unproductive, such as treating yourself to a latte, taking a break and stretching, or creating a small, but manageable to-do list to get yourself pumped up for other tasks.
Read through your emails. Are you getting lazy about replying, not reading the whole way through a message, or replying with vague or easily-misinterpreted wording? Commit to better communication this year.
Take a look at your workspace. A few papers, notebooks, and mugs are probably okay, but are there gum wrappers or crumbs lying around? Do some spring cleaning and get rid of the clutter. A clean workspace can lead to an uncluttered, productive mind.
Be kind to yourself and take note of things you do well. If keeping Post-it reminders on the wall helps you stay organized, commit to continuing that habit this year. Maybe you see yourself as the motivator of your team. Give yourself a pat on the back for being such a good team player and keep it up. Although self-criticism is necessary for improvement, so is self-kindness.
Realistic, measurable goals are essential to making a change in the workplace. The formula for writing a goal should include what you want to achieve, a quantification, and a time period. For example, if you want to contribute to your company blog more often, your goal might be to write one entry for the company blog every other week.
After you’ve solidified your goals, save a list of them on your computer for safekeeping; also write them down and display them in a visible place so you can reflect on them daily. Identify small steps you can take each day to achieve your goals so you are always moving forward.
Ask for Feedback
When you have identified your strengths and weaknesses and set goals, ask your supervisor if you can meet to discuss your objectives for the coming year. Talk about your strengths and weaknesses, and explain how your goals will help you focus on the kind of worker you want to be.
Your supervisor may have comments and suggestions, so be sure to keep those thoughts in mind. Remember though–these are your personal goals, not anyone else’s.
Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Even if you are happy with your employer and have no plans to start job searching anytime soon, it’s important to look at your resume and make any necessary changes and additions. Also constantly keep track of your skills, certifications, and accolades. If you wait several years between resume updates, you may forget to include something very important. For example, your role as a temporary project manager seems memorable right now, but if you wait two years to update your resume, you may forget that you filled that role while another employee was on leave.
Be sure to also update your LinkedIn profile so professionals in your area and industry can find and connect with you, and so you can make the best use of the professional social network.
Evaluate on a Regular Basis
Once you have set your focus for the new year, you need to periodically evaluate yourself to see if you are on the right path. Every other month, carefully read through your goals as a reminder. Maybe you’re doing really well with one and need to make it a little harder, but another goal needs some adjusting because it is too far out of reach.
It’s okay to edit your goals as long as you leave yourself something realistic to strive for. Evaluation is essential because it shows growth and helps you determine a direction for the future.
It’s important to periodically evaluate ourselves in the work environment to see how we can improve to identify our strengths. The beginning of a new year is the ideal time to take a look at our habits, processes, and skills to rediscover our focus for the workweeks ahead.