Resolutions go bust? Don’t worry — July’s got your back
January 1: “I’m getting to work 20 minutes early every day this year. And I’m going to lose 20 pounds.”
January 2: “Starting tomorrow.”
January 3: “OK, starting tomorrow. For real this time. And let’s shoot for 10 pounds. That’ll be a good start.”
January 4: “I’ll be in the office by 9:30. Wait, muffins? Maybe 9:45.”
New Year’s resolutions can be simple or elaborate, insignificant or important, spontaneous or planned. Just don’t expect them to be the one thing that’s more important than the others: kept.
While work-related resolutions aren’t necessarily bad, they can cast an air of failure over a new year if they’re not kept. So why do we bother?
Well, for starters, they do help provide a blueprint for our future behavior. They can also help us move forward with our careers by reminding us to forge ahead instead of stagnating on the here and now. So maybe the better question is why do they start in January?
If you’ve already failed in your resolution endeavor or didn’t bother to make one in the first place, July welcomes you and your commitment to improvement with open arms. And look, there’s the sun, which makes the whole resolution a bit more palatable than those grey days of ice and snow in January.
Not sure of an appropriate mid-year resolution? Don’t overthink it. Just choose something that can help you improve your professional and personal state as the year continues. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Find some mentors
“Consider finding mentors that can give you valuable career information, expand your social networks and help with honing professional skills. To maximize mentor relationships, first lay out specific goals for your current work and future aspirations then choose multiple mentors that align with those goals. Internal mentors can help with organizational issues and opportunities while external mentors can offer insights into larger career issues. Mentors can also help expand your professional network and provide opportunities for you to gain first-hand experience in a field of interest. Goal setting, career planning and role modeling are all ways that mentorships can help open your mind to new opportunities and experiences you may have not otherwise considered.”
Words of wisdom
“Read one book a quarter that will help you in your career. Start a book club at work and you can all experience the benefits of growth. Book clubs keep you accountable.” — Deanna O’Connell, president, Red Kite Recruiting, Chicago
Work well with others
“Spend more time with people and teams I don’t work with directly. As CEO, a very small percentage of the company actually reports to me and I can become a little detached from the issues and challenges the broader company is facing. I resolve to set up weekly lunches with teams so I can spend more time just talking and learning about how different parts of the company are working.” — Harj Taggar, CEO, Triplebyte, San Francisco
Just say no
“I have a great deal of difficulty in saying no or in offering an alternate solution when asked to perform some service and that difficulty has increased tenfold over the last decade. I changed jobs, going from a northeast university to a southern university, in 2004. To counteract feelings of inadequacy, I immediately sought to be elected vice president of a national organization, and I was. I volunteered for anything — nothing was off the table if it would make me look good at work and convince my administration that I was a good hire. Ultimately, after some 10-plus years, I have realized I was attempting to convince myself that I am capable, competent and able. Therefore, I want to commit myself to changing my work life — to stop trying so hard to prove something to myself, to learn how to say no and not feel guilty or afraid.” — Dr. K. Virginia Hemby, professor, Department of Marketing, Jones College of Business, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Day by day
“While I don’t believe there is such a thing as truly achieving work-life balance when you’re a full-time employee and a parent, it doesn’t stop me from attempting to earn the title of Super Mom and Star Employee simultaneously and on a regular basis. And frankly, these attempts aren’t necessarily making me a better parent or employee; rather, they can leave me feeling drained and defeated. This year, I’m going to try to be less critical and more accepting of myself. There will be good and bad days when it comes to balancing my career and family, and that’s OK. I will try to celebrate the good days and also be more tolerant of those not-so good days.” — Amanda Augustine, career advice expert, TopResume, New York
What better to do in the middle of summer than to get serious about your January job resolutions?