New Year’s Resolutions That Will Kick Your Career Into High Gear

Megan Stacy Deane

Posted: January 26, 2024

Table of Contents

New Year, new job satisfaction? Why not! A new year at the office presents a fresh opportunity to set goals and boost your professional growth. To help you set the trajectory, we’re exploring inspiring New Year’s work resolutions for 2024 and what they could do for your career.

What’s the point of setting New Year’s work resolutions?

Most of us love drawing up New Year’s resolutions, but research shows that while 46% of people keep resolutions for at least six months, only a paltry 8% of us keep them for the entire year. So how can we change that? 

An important step, according to Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, is to not think of resolutions as goals. Goals are great in the workplace because they keep everyone aligned and working towards the same target or deadline. A resolution, on the other hand, is more of a concept that reflects what you wish for yourself at work. 

Babauta says the best way to fulfil your resolutions is to break them down into achievable steps. Say your resolution is to communicate better at work. Research everything there is about “active listening”, learn the fine art of business writing, and even consider doing an online course in communication, and plan the steps out over a reasonable time. This ensures your resolutions become a process of improving your work life rather than an intimidating goal that weighs you down. 

Workplace resolutions can be set at a personal level, at a team level, or company-wide. They can help you prioritise or create a framework for thinking about your role and create a more realistic vision of what’s important to you and how you and your colleagues will achieve your goals.

Another great benefit of setting New Year’s resolutions is it’s a chance to cast aside the unfulfilled goals of last year and start anew. Having a more optimistic view of your future is a great motivator for springing into action and getting things done. 

And when you move forward with clear direction, you make a positive contribution to your emotional and mental health. It also has a positive effect on those around you – your resolution to stop procrastinating, for example, will serve as an inspiration to others to jump in and get going, too. Or, deciding to be a better communicator or leader and consciously working towards making it happen will directly contribute to a more positive team dynamic and improve the working environment of your reports and colleagues.

Workplace resolutions you could set for yourself

Here are a couple of ideas for work-related New Year’s resolutions and how they can help you excel this year. 

Prioritise a better work/life balance

Better time management and being more organised are guaranteed ways to create balance between your personal and professional life and prevent either of these two areas from seeping into each other. It could include learning the fine art of time blocking, starting to delegate more, minimising distractions, prioritising tasks effectively, and/or keeping track of time wasted vs time well spent (at work). Experiment with different techniques like the Pomodoro method, Eisenhower Matrix, or to-do list apps to find what works best for you.

Set boundaries so you can focus on tasks that align with your role and responsibilities and avoid getting sidetracked by distractions or non-essential requests. And if you’re a remote worker, setting a routine can prevent work from taking over your whole day. A daily schedule that specifies when to wake up, start work, take breaks, and when to stop working will ensure you bring balance back into your life.

Learn a new skill

With the fierce competition for jobs and technology reshaping what many look like, upskilling – or even learning something totally new – should be a top New Year’s resolution for everyone. It could mean learning about the latest developments in your field, such as AI in the workplace, new trends in human resources or the latest in data analysis and visualisation. It could also be more personal, such as learning how to be a more strategic leader, getting up to speed on diversity and inclusion, or developing your problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Create a PDP

A personal development plan (PDP) is a framework – broken down into achievable steps – that lays out a path for achieving your professional and career goals. By drawing up a PDP, you get a clear picture of your skills gaps in relation to your ambitions, and you can start putting into place an actionable plan to improve your skills, knowledge, and experience. It will guide you on what training you need, help you set SMART goals, and give you a sense of direction, purpose, and accomplishment. 

Build your brand, update your CV and LinkedIn, and start networking

The prevalence of remote work and tough competition for top jobs means most of us need to get better at selling ourselves if we want to get ahead professionally. Your personal brand is a summary of your expertise, experience, skills, and achievements, combined with your personality strengths and soft (power) skills. This should be reflected on your CV and LinkedIn profile and used as leverage when you start networking. 

Why network? Research shows that people with stronger networks are promoted more often and earn higher salaries throughout their careers. Having access to diverse contacts is also proven to give you greater access to information that can help you be more innovative in your job.

Need inspiration for more? Other popular work-related New Year’s resolutions are:

  • Find a mentor
  • Improve your (remote) communication and active listening skills
  • Become a better negotiator
  • Re-evaluate your career goals
  • Get to know your colleagues better
  • Manage your stress and be more adaptable
  • Create quality time and do team building with your employees
  • Spend less time in meetings or on admin tasks
  • Change careers or find a new job
  • Avoid office gossip and be more positive

Stick to your resolutions, and you’ll reap the benefits

The trick to making New Year’s work resolutions stick is to be realistic about them. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many overly ambitious “goals”, as this will only lead to disappointment or, worse, burnout. Instead, focus on manageable resolutions that will cement healthy habits and nudge in sustainable lifestyle changes. 

Track your progress (there are dozens of tracking tools available, from apps to journals), and keep your resolutions top of mind. If you prepare yourself mentally for achieving your resolutions, you’re more likely to keep them, and you can look forward to ending the year with a huge smile on your face. 
Ready to start? Find out more about creating a PDP here.

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