In the early days of a brand new year, it’s natural to take stock of what you have accomplished over the past twelve months. After all, you deserve to celebrate your successes!
But if you’re already looking ahead toward a new year of milestones, there’s no reason that you can’t start setting yourself up for a successful and professionally fulfilling 2019. Here are a few resolutions that you can put to work in this year.
Resolve to be better at giving and receiving feedback
It’s not always easy to ask for or offer feedback, but it’s important to challenge yourself to do both. Here’s how this practice can benefit you at work.
- You’ll gain a realistic sense of what you need to work on. Even if you’re meeting deadlines and successfully completing projects, there’s always room for improvement. And you never know, unless you ask. Set up a chat with colleagues after a project wraps up, or do your own post-project evaluation. If you opt to debrief with your team, come prepared with a list of talking points and questions about any challenges you faced. If communication issues were an obstacle and you were the team lead, reflect on where you think you fell short and ask your team for input to help you understand what to do better or differently next time.
- Hearing the negatives may become less difficult. While you can’t change the past, owning up to an error and revisiting why it happened may help you to better manage your emotions moving forward. And rather than avoiding a difficult discussion, being honest with your boss and yourself about your mistake may help to relieve your fear of constructive feedback.
- You'll begin to feel more invested in what you do. Establishing an open line of communication—about work wins and challenges—may help you feel more dialed in on a daily basis. Knowing that you can speak freely when it comes to navigating tricky professional moments can be an integral part of feeling connected to colleagues, organization, and career.
It may not feel natural to give your constructive opinion or receive critical feedback, but approaching it all with a growth mindset will ensure a healthier and more open working environment.
Keep professional development on the front burner
While making professional development an integral part of your routine will require some planning, it’s easy to personalize how you make time for professional development. Do it whenever you can and in the ways that best suit your schedule and personality.
- If you’re a social butterfly, keep networking high on your list of priorities. Maintain your networking profiles with up-to-date information and reach out to new contacts with well-crafted emails.
- If you’re an avid reader, add some career-focused books to your reading list.
- If you love online learning, take your pick from any number of platforms like Khan Academy, Udemy, or Lynda.com.
- Always on the go? Tune in to some social-impact podcasts for quick installments of the latest news and interviews.
Professional development is personal; there’s no right way to go about it or right amount of time to commit. But finding manageable ways to fit it into your routine can help you to round out your skill set and grow both personally and professionally.
Routinely assess and self-evaluate
While regular performance reviews are important opportunities for goal-setting and receiving feedback, don’t underestimate the importance of routine self-assessments. Try one of these methods to keep check-ins on your radar.
- Schedule time on your personal calendar. Setting a reminder can be a helpful way to keep your regular self-review, well, regular. Try to conduct either a mental review or jot down a few notes about whatever is on your mind on a monthly basis.
- Do a quick weekly review. Pick a day of the week, maybe Friday or Sunday, to highlight major meetings, projects, struggles, or wins. Try a bulleted list in a Google document or log this as an entry in a career journal.
- Track day-to-day work goals. If you’re not interested in journaling, try a project management tool like Wunderlist, Asana, or Trello to keep track of your daily accomplishments. This log could serve as a resource for future performance reviews or as a helpful reminder of what you’ve achieved when you’re seeking a promotion or a new role.
There’s no deadline on building a practice of self-reflection. Whatever you decide works for you, stick with it, and don’t be afraid to give yourself permission to tweak and make new career resolutions, no matter the month.
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About the Author | Yoona Wagener is a freelance writer and WordPress developer who believes in the value of nonlinear career paths. She has experience in academic publishing, teaching English abroad, serving up customer support to software end users, writing online help documentation, and mission-driven nonprofit marketing and communications.