New Year – Fresh Start & Renewed Focus

Each year starts with a frenzy of lofty promises: “I will lose 20 pounds,” “I will eat better,” “I will pay off my debt,” “I will remember to call Aunt Betty each month,” and so on.

With so much focus on resolutions -- media coverage, studies regarding the effectiveness of resolutions, and a whole industry that profits each and every year based upon these promises, it is rare to hear about practical and achievable professional resolutions.

Americans spend over 50% of their waking hours working; given this fact, I find it surprising that professional resolutions get so little hype. Here are some ideas to resolve to be better professionals and thus have stronger, happier careers.

Be Present

  • Don’t dwell on past events. What’s done is done, so learn what you can from your past and move on.
  • Don’t focus 100% on driving towards the future. It is too easy to lose sight of where you are and what your impact is or can be. Focus on what you can do today and do it.
  • Remind yourself “today is the best day to have a great day.” You are a great contributor to your own happiness.

Own Your Career

Ask yourself the following simple questions and if you don’t know the answers, do something about it!

  • Do you know what your job is today? Roles evolve and expectations change – be sure that you are clear on what you should be focused on achieving.
    • If you’re not 100% sure, get clarification.
  • Do you have the right equipment, materials, and/or resources to do your job well?
    • If not, ask for it.
  • Do you have an open channel of feedback with your manager?
    • If not, schedule a meeting to talk. Feedback does not need to be initiated by management. If you want feedback, ask for it.

Take Care

Stress wreaks havoc on your mind and body, especially in our “always plugged in” world. Like it or not, we are human and humans need food and rest. Hungry and Tired are the welcoming committee for stress – so do what you can to keep them at bay.

  • Eat when you are hungry.
  • Get enough sleep every day.
  • Take breaks to re-energize: stretch, walk around, take some deep breaths – it helps you to relax.

Hopefully at least one of these resolutions strikes a chord with you. Here’s to a happier and healthier year! Bring it on 2014!