Should we make New Year’s resolutions for work?

As 2012 is coming quickly to a close, many of us are starting to think about what 2013 will bring. A new year often represents to people an opportunity to start anew, a rebirth of sorts. That’s why each year millions of people make New Year’s resolutions – a commitment to doing better in the future. While so many people are familiar with personal resolutions, should we be making work resolutions too?

Work resolutions generally fall into two categories: Improve my own career and life or improve my organization. Here are some examples of each:

Improve my own career and life:

  • Create a career plan for the next five years
  • Seek out a mentor
  • Attend more networking events
  • Take on a new challenge or responsibility
  • Work toward becoming a Subject Matter Expert

Improve my organization:

  • Review focus on the client and new ways of delivering value for them
  • Develop and energize our people through training and knowledge sharing
  • Provide opportunities for employees to connect as a community
  • Revisit the organization vision – does it still fit? Is it translatable to our individuals?
  • Develop ways to recognize employees on a regular basis.

But should we be making them? Work resolutions are not the best way for you to focus on your career or organization development, as it is typically spontaneous and New Year’s resolutions are notorious for getting no attention past January 3rd!  But if the idea of a New Year’s resolution starts your thinking – then go for it!  Take advantage of the time of year that encourages new beginnings and do some serious planning. Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish next year for both my personal career and business organization?”  For each resolution, develop a plan: how you will do it, by what date and what expected outcome.  Develop a way to measure progress.

Remember though, if you want to make meaningful, lasting changes to your career or organization, you must be continuously working towards these changes; they must be an inherent part of your activities. I don’t mean to say that if you aren’t already doing something, you can’t possibly or shouldn’t start. If you don’t have a long-term plan, it may be time to create one.  The idea of improving one’s self and organization is a daily mantra, a constant practice.  December 31st is a great impetus, just make it last.

Will you be making a new year’s resolution for work? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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