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Career Connexion 

 Career resolutions for the New Year

Traditionally, New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year. It’s a time for looking back to the past and, more important, forward to the coming year. We reflect on the changes we want to make and how to achieve them.

Yes, it’s that time again – time to make those resolutions. Making a resolution about your career or any other aspect of your life is nothing more than setting your goals for the New Year. “Goal” is defined as “the end toward which effort is directed.” Before you begin listing your goals for 2009, think about the things that matter to you the most. The New Year is your opportunity for a clean start and for taking on new challenges and to achieve something worthwhile for yourself. If you haven’t started thinking about your resolutions for this year, here are some suggestions to consider:

Reflect positively on the past

Rather than making resolutions based on an inventory of regrets from the previous year, I suggest a more positive way to get started on your list. You can start by asking yourself questions like:

  • What positive changes have I made over the last year?
  • What do I really want most?
  • How will I feel when I have it? How does my career change fit into being my best? (If planning a career change)
  • What’s the best career decision I made last year? What would be the best one for next year?
  • What am I willing to start doing right now to accomplish my career goals in 2009?

Love your work

If you’ve found the right career already, congratulations – you have a great foundation to build on. If you love what you do, you’ll put your heart and soul into it and be successful. If this is not you, this year, you can aim to land a more fulfilling job and work for a company that you want to be a part of. Remember, to do something well, you have to enjoy and love what you do.

Review your working habits

Are you always late for meetings? Is your office always a mess? Make it a New Year’s resolution to change at least one daily habit and see how it makes a difference in the way you work and the way your co-workers perceive you.

Clean out old files, e-mails, etc.

Getting rid of old files is a great way to revisit priorities and gain perspective on what’s really important. Not only will it give you a fresh start on the year ahead, but, if you pay careful attention to what you keep and what you throw out, it may help you manage your workload more effectively in the future. A clutter free office is an efficient office.

Brush up on your skills

Is there a skill that you’ve wanted to develop or improve, but never really had a chance or the time to work on it last year? Perhaps, this year might be a better year for you. Consider taking a class or attending seminars for your own professional development. If you’re unsure, there are a lot of courses available through continuing education divisions at colleges and universities. Course descriptions and schedule are also available readily online.

Put more money in for retirement or savings

Saving for retirement is a critically important goal. Simply commit yourself to take your next pay increase and put it in your savings before you ever have the chance to miss it. Making this part of your career goals will give you peace of mind as you build toward a more comfortable retirement at the same time.

Schedule vacation time

Constant routine and continued pressure and deadlines mean that you could be tempted not to schedule appropriate rest time and vacation breaks. Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs insist on taking their vacation because they know the value it gives in recharging their bodies and bringing them back to their offices fully refreshed. Consider talking to your loved ones and plan your breaks for the year and perhaps also plan to go on vacation together.

Find more time for yourself and family each week

More and more effective workers that I know are looking for a balance of work and family. Most of the time, work takes priority over family, but it’s not impossible to find ways to integrate both aspects of your life. For example, if you put in a lot of overtime, you can aim for leaving work early on an afternoon to attend your child’s sporting event. Making this a part of your resolution list would definitely improve your work/like balance.

Love yourself

Loving yourself means taking care of yourself. Eat healthy foods and exercise! Find ways to exercise with your family and pay attention to what you’re eating. Take time to reflect on what activities invigorate you and commit more time to doing them.

Commit to your resolutions

Lastly, aim to make a strong commitment to make a change and keep track of your progress consistently throughout the year. The more monitoring you do, the better you will do.

The keys to making successful resolutions are to make your goals simple, achievable and within reach. Whether your goal is to lose weight, exercise regularly or quit smoking, I hope this is the year that you make good on your New Year resolutions.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Michele Majul is an HR Professional with Canada Post Corporation in the Prairie Region. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba and a certificate in Human Resource Management. E-mail her at