Look, I know: New Year’s Resolutions get a bad rap. But it’s not the resolutions themselves that are the problem, it’s us not following through on them, right?
Not achieving resolutions in the past isn’t a reason not to make them now—especially for something as important as our careers.
Remember, we spend at least 40 hours per week (and often more) plus commuting time at our jobs. Most people see their coworkers for more hours than they see their kids or spouses.
Taking out time for sleep, we spend more than 1/3 of our lives at our jobs. So let me ask you: How does that make you feel?
Does your career make you feel fulfilled? Respected? Creative? Well-paid?
Because if not, you’re giving away more than a third of your precious waking hours to a career that isn’t right for you.
And, if you ask me, that’s unacceptable. You deserve more.
So, with that in mind, I have three New Year’s resolutions I’d strongly suggest you consider making:
Resolve to work in a career that makes you feel fulfilled
Note that I didn’t say “happy”—if you ask me, it’s not realistic to expect to regularly feel gleeful about your job. But what IS reasonable is to expect to feel proud of the work you do, feel respected by your peers and boss/clients, and challenged just enough to feel engaged and interested. Not sure what this field is? It’s time to start looking.
Here’s another key piece of information: You can’t really know for sure until you try something out. But that’s great news because everything you learn to do is another skill to add to your career arsenal.
For example, what if you learn copywriting and decide it’s not something you want to do full-time?
Well, first, you could decide you just want to do it as a side hustle to make extra cash and add a $12,000-$24,000/year cushion to your income for emergencies, vacations, etc. (Please note that this is NOT a guarantee—the amount you make depends on you actually taking the steps to learn and then build your business. I will give you all of the guidance and support, but you have to do the work.)
Or, second, you could just add it as a skill to your resume to make yourself more marketable. Studies estimate that adding hard skills like copywriting to your resume can bump up your salary by 15-20%. *
That’s a win, no matter what.
But, again, you can’t know if a career is right for you until you try it. So resolve to get out of your comfort zone and dig in.
Resolve to acquire the skills you need to make a change
Most career changes are going to require some new set of skills. After all, if you already knew how to do something, you’d be doing it, right?
Really: let that sink in for a second. A lot of people resist doing new things because they don’t know how to do them. NO ONE is born knowing how to do something; EVERYONE has to learn it. And that goes for everything from copywriting to marble sculpting, brain surgery, and working at The Gap.
As adults, it’s not often that we actually have to learn something new, which means that you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone. And let’s be really clear: No matter who you are, that’s going to kick up a lot of resistance. A very loud part of your brain is programmed to try to keep you in your comfort zone, even when that doesn’t benefit you.
Expect resistance. Expect to want to procrastinate. Expect a sneaky voice to say things like, “Oo, maybe you’re not supposed to do this after all. Why don’t you just stick with your current job? It’s not SO bad…” Expect to periodically feel frustrated, discouraged, and nervous.
But here’s the key: Those feelings don’t last if you keep doing the work. Feel the resistance/frustration/discouragement/fear…and then take action anyway. And if that next action feels overwhelming, break it down into steps so absurdly tiny they’re laughable. (As in, “open internet browser.” Check. “Type in squarespace.com.” Check.) When they’re that little, there’s no resistance to doing them and you make progress. Write ‘em down and check ‘em off.
Resolve to make your time reflect your real priorities
Here’s a hard truth: What you do with your time reflects what you really care about. You can say you want to get in shape, but if you watch an hour of Netflix instead of going to the gym or going for a walk, your priorities are clear: You value entertainment over your health.
No, I’m not saying that you’re not allowed downtime. Of course you are! We all need it.
But we also only have so many hours in our day and if you find yourself on Instagram or watching TV instead of doing things you say you want to do, like work out, spend time with your significant other, work on a novel, acquire a new skill, or build your business…well, you’ve made your priorities clear.
So resolve to make sure that your time reflects your real priorities: Even if you start with just 15 minutes per day, spend time each day making progress toward your goals. The real secret to hitting your goals is committing to persistence and consistency.
If you’re looking for a little help breaking these goals down into milestones, priorities, and daily tasks, check out this post about creating your own planner. And if you need to spend a little time thinking about your goals, check out this post here.
But no matter what you do, resolve to take your career (and your life) seriously this year. You’re worth it.
Your turn! Which career resolutions are you going to make? Any of these? All three? Let me know in the comments below!