Professional Development

10 New Years Resolutions for Career Success in 2017

Written by Peter Jones

It’s hard to believe, but 2017 is right around the corner. This can be a great time to take stock and press the reset button, making positive resolutions for the future. These are often focused on personal improvement goals or hobbies, but could just as easily be a chance to buckle down, focus, and advance your career.

This year, consider tailoring your resolutions to maximize career success, making sure to choose realistic goals that you can meet in any given year, rather than having the same goals end up on your resolutions list year in and year out without anything coming of it.

Here are 10 of the best New Year’s resolutions for career advancement and success.

1. Get Promoted

Sit down and take yourself through an evaluation of your career. What’s working well? What areas need attention? Then come up with a game plan for what your next step should be—be that a raise or a promotion. Figure out what you’d have to do to make either of those things happen, then set about doing just that. You can’t always control the outcome, but you can control putting yourself in the best possible position.

2. Acquire a Skill

It’s never too late to learn something new—and it’s always a great way to beef up your resume. Pick something that will fill a gap in your hiring profile, or that will really help you move to the next stage. Above all, pick something that interests you so you’ll be sure to follow through.

3. Become an Industry Expert

Make a resolution to keep a better eye on industry news and trends. Read blogs or newsletters or news sites that are relevant to your career and do it daily. With your morning coffee, perhaps. Being informed is an asset, and you’ll be surprised at how knowledgeable you become—and how valuable you’ll make yourself.

4. Organize Your Life

Being more organized is always an ongoing project. But this year pick one or a few things that you can be more proactive about. Separate your personal and professional social media spheres. Clean out your email inbox and come up with a system to keep it clean, starting fresh every day at 0 unread messages. Tidy your desk. Make a to-do list. Figure out a way to keep yourself efficient and productive all year long.

5. Schmooze

We could all always be doing more networking. Take your connection-making goals off the back burner and start building your network. Get active online, on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter, attend more industry events, ask a contact out for an informational coffee. Try doing at least one networking thing a month, then build to two or even one a week.

6. Get Healthy

You’ll be surprised at how much difference a little extra sleep and some healthy eating can make. Cut back on alcohol or sugar. Exercise more. Quit smoking. You’ll live longer, have more energy, and find yourself much more motivated overall to reach your other goals.

7. Learn How to Take Criticism

How we handle criticism is important. Train yourself to seek out constructive criticism and to be less defensive when hearing what you could be doing better. Feedback like this can be a great way to locate places where you ought to focus more. Free career advice!

8. Quit If You Have To

If your job is a dead-end, or you know you should have left long ago, consider making this the year you take the leap. Make sure you have a safety net and plan in place, but make turning your career around a priority. 

9. Say Yes to What Scares You

If someone offers you an opportunity or a challenge, take it. Don’t just demure because it would require more work or energy or is a bit risky. Leap at the big chances and see how far you can run.

10. Find Balance

Work-life balance is a term so often thrown around these days. Take a minute to see where your particular balance falls out of whack, and figure out a solid plan on how to correct that imbalance. Remember, when you’re healthy and happy, you’ll work harder and achieve more.

About the author

Peter Jones