By Angela Copeland
January is finally here. The start of this New Year seems to be hitting many people hard. It’s the beginning of a new decade. Even the year, 2020, gives us some pressure to find our way and see the future more clearly.
Over the holidays, you may have taken a little time to line up your New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you want to get in shape, lose weight, or learn a new hobby. Or, maybe you want to spend more time with loved ones.
For many people, their resolution is to embark on an entirely new career path. Maybe you’re ready to get into management. Or, on the flip side, you could be ready to become an individual contributor again.
Write a list of your career resolutions. Think of what you’d like to accomplish. Would you like to land a new job? Make more money? Take a class? Finish a degree? Manage others? Do more public speaking or learn a new software program? Write it down. Write everything down.
Once you have a goal list, begin to estimate how much time each goal might take you to accomplish. Then, begin to plot out your goals by months of the year. To make real progress, you can’t assume you’ll finish everything by March. Space things out, and be realistic with your expectations.
What I hope you’ll see is that goals and resolutions aren’t just for January. They’re something to work on all year. In fact, you may want to revisit them each month or each quarter to see how you’re doing so far. That’s how we plan goals at work; yet for ourselves, we often forget to put in this level of planning.
When I’m setting goals, I often prioritize them. Since it’s often not possible to complete everything, it’s good to think through which goals are the most important. If you have tasks that tie back to a larger goal, make note of it. It will help you as you’re plotting your future year.
And, there are some years when things are on a pretty good track. They’re going at a good pace, and you want to keep moving in the direction you established the year before. Those years are great. If you find yourself in this position, enjoy it. Soak up the progress you’ve made and the stability you’ve created.
But for the rest of us, it’s time to get started. After all, the job market is still looking pretty strong. This is the perfect time to begin to reestablish what you want for yourself going forward. Think of it like a gift to yourself. If you could do anything with your life, what would it be? If you had a clean slate, what would you wish for?
In summary, write your resolutions down. Map them out on your 2020 calendar. The more work you put in now, the more goals you’ll meet.
Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.