How to Crush Your New Year's Resolutions for Your Career

January 1, 2018

These are the most common career-related New Year's resolutions for your career, with playbooks on how to accomplish them.

Supposedly, only 8 percent of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to the Huffington Post.

That’s caused people to give up on the idea of making them at all. To that, I disagree.

I still maintain that making a New Year’s resolution – particularly for your career – is a good thing. Goals give us clarity in our actions and increase the chance of success.

The key is following through. To help you, we’ve made a list below of the most common career-related New Year's resolutions people make. And, to ensure you actually accomplish those resolutions, we built a path for crushing each one.  

    1. Get a new job.

At LinkedIn, we see a huge spike in people looking for new jobs in the month in January. Clearly, the new year motivates many people to search.

The key to doing this successfully is being really clear with what you want. What exactly are you unhappy with in your current role? Is there another position internally you can apply for? Or, is it something inherently cultural about the organization, and it’s time to look elsewhere?

If you do believe it’s time for a new role, it’s time to get active and do your best to get as many jobs opportunities as you can, so you have more options. Just applying to jobs online cold isn’t going to cut it – you also need to leverage your network, go to hiring events and optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Recommended Courses: Job Search Strategies, J.T. O'Donnell on Making Recruiters Come to You, Acing Your Interview, Professional Networking  

    2. Earn a promotion.

It’s risky to get a job at a new company – it might be a great fit, it might not be. Plus, you might like where you work. So, many professionals prefer to advance within the organization they are already in.

And that means getting a promotion.

This starts by doing outstanding work and acting in a way that's promotable. But also, tell your boss about your ambitions. Rather than demanding a promotion on the spot, ask them what you need to do to get a promotion and a realistic timeline for getting there. Most bosses are more-than-willing to help.

Recommended Courses: Learning to be Promotable, Getting Promoted, Negotiating Your Salary, Building Business Relationships

    3. Have a better work-life balance.

Another common career-related New Year’s resolution is to have a better work-life balance. So many of us work so hard, it prevents us from doing what we’d like to do in our personal lives.

There’s a few ways to address it. One is to say no more often – do fewer things, better. Another is to simply make an agreement with yourself, such as no more emailing after 6 p.m. or no more opening the work laptop on Saturdays. It can also come down to having better time management skills.

Remember, time off isn’t just important for your personal life – unplugging makes you more effective at your career, too.

Recommended Courses: Balancing Work and Life, Avoiding Burnout, Arianna Huffington's Thrive 02: Learning How to Unplug and Recharge, Learning to Say No

    4. Be more productive.

This means a lot of things to a lot of people. For a sales person, it might mean closing more deals, hence being more productive. For someone in manufacturing, it might mean finding ways to produce more, while using less energy. It can also mean having better time management skills and making the most of your eight hours each day.

One thing to remember – there are many tools out there that can make your life easier. Or, learning how to use the tools you already use each day – say, Excel – to their maximum ability can make you far more effective. So, investing some time mastering these tools in the beginning of the year might pay huge dividends in the long run.

Recommended Courses: Time Management Fundamentals, Excel Tips Weekly, Monday Productivity Pointers, Getting Things Done

    5. Learn a new skill.

We’d argue the best new year’s resolution of all! No matter what your job, there’s always a skill you can learn to be better at it.

For inspiration, check out this story on Savanah Barry. She dedicates an hour each Friday afternoon to learning and has grown her career tremendously because of it. By doing the same, you can see the same results.

Recommended Courses: Any! Although a few popular ones are Learning Data Analytics, SEO Foundations, Programming Foundations: Fundamentals and SQL Essential Training.

    6. Be a better leader.

A great resolution for managers. But even individual contributors can be seen as a leader if they take on the qualities of a leader.

What’s the real key to being a great leader? Selflessness. Great leaders are all about making the people around them better, instead of being laser-focused on themselves.

Also, for managers, we really recommend learning how to coach effectively.

Recommended Courses: Leading Without Formal Authority, Coaching for Results, Managing Employee Performance Problems, Management Tips Weekly

    7. Set better goals.

What if you don’t have a work-related New Year’s Resolution?

That’s fine. But you should have some goals you are looking to achieve – goals are key to building a successful career, regardless of what success means to you (maybe success means making loads of money or maybe it means getting home at 4 each day to spend time with your children).

So, if you currently have no goals, perhaps you should make the goal to make goals. You’ll be happier because of it.

Recommended Courses: Defining and Achieving Professional Goals, Achieving Your Goals, Managing Your Career, Discovering Your Strengths