In case you just woke up from a very long nap and missed it, a new year is officially here! Everyone you know is making resolutions to work out more often, eat less fried foods, and find a job that pays them one billion dollars a year to do the exact thing they want to do.
You probably roll your eyes every time you read a status along these lines, and when you do, I have a feeling it makes you think that making these resolutions is an exercise in futility. I’m as much of a skeptic as the next person, but there are a few things I know you can achieve by the end of the year.
1. You Can Stop Thinking About Networking and Just Do It
How many times have you bumped into someone you knew and said, “Hey, this was great. Let’s set up some more time to talk about what I want to do with the rest of my life,” only to see three months go by before you even think about following up?
I’m not here to give you a hard time for ghosting anyone you intended to connect with. But at the same time, this is an ideal time to be more intentional about staying in touch with your network.
If you meet with someone and feel the urge to say that you’ll reach out to set up some time, stop yourself and just schedule the meeting in that moment. If you can’t commit to doing this, don’t feel guilty about not throwing out the “let’s catch up” line to close a conversation.
Nobody will hold it against you for not offering to meet whenever you run into each other, I promise.
2. You Can Look For New Career Development Opportunities
I get it—sometimes it feels like there are so many options out there to “boost your career” that it’s impossible to narrow them down and make any progress. But as daunting as it might seem, the truth is that simply looking at your options is a great way to kick-start some serious career growth.
Whether that requires you to create calendar events for yourself (with annoying reminders) to keep at it, leave Post-it notes around your place, or have a friend text you every week checking in—get started by surrounding yourself with as much encouragement as you need to make this one thing happen.
Sure, you might find hundreds of classes and thousands of books that aren’t relevant to what you want to accomplish this year. But when you find the one thing that inspires you to dig a little deeper, you’ll be amazed by how motivated you’ll be to keep going.
3. You Can Take a Hard Look at How You Feel About Your Current Job
You might like your job right now. In fact, if you’re lucky, you might really like it. But there will come a time when you like it a little bit less, and a little bit less, and a little bit less—until one day you wake up and want to quit.
Avoid that feeling of “How the heck did I get here?” by setting regular checkpoints for yourself throughout the year (and creating actual events on your calendar that’ll pop and and remind you).
On each of these days, ask yourself the following questions
- Was I happy to come into the office this week?
- Have I done anything recently that I’m proud of?
- Does my current path still fit my long-term goals?
As long as you can keep answering yes, keep on cruising. But the first time you have to pause and think for a second, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with yourself on what you want your next step to be (whether that’s addressing a problem or starting to make small moves).
If you want to set some lofty goals for your career this year, I’m not going to stop you. But there’s nothing wrong with going easy on yourself and setting a few achievable resolutions.
Remember: If you run into any roadblocks along the way, try not to let it get you too down for too long. The beauty of these options is that they’re ongoing and it’s hard to fall behind.
Photo of person at desk courtesy of Sam Edwards/Getty Images.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy or follow his blog.More from this Author