4 Easy New Year's Job Resolutions to Keep

Fatimah Gilliam Founder, and CEO The Azara Group

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Whenever a new year rolls around, we tell ourselves we're going to revamp our lives. We sit down and create a long list of lofty, unrealistic goals. By the end of January, the list is already neglected - barely having made progress on a single item on the list. This year, don't overly commit to tasks you will never complete. This will only make you feel like a failure and add to your stress.

Instead, stick to a few simple things that are easier to maintain and can be implemented starting today. After considering our 5 Tips to Kick-Start Your Career in the New Year, get started on these four New Year's resolutions to advance your career.

1. Make a Weekly Meeting with Yourself

Go to your calendar and pick a time of the weekday that works for you - maybe it's Wednesdays at noon or Thursdays at 4pm. Select a time that's typically your slowest moment of the week. Block off 60-minutes on your calendar, and remain consistently committed to this time. Call it "Lunch with Sarah" or "Weekly Business Review." Call it something that seems relatively important - especially if others have access to your calendar. If something conflicts with this time that you must attend, then don't cancel this weekly meeting with yourself. Merely reschedule it for another time during the same week.

Use this time to work on various goals. Assess where you are with your yearly performance goals and career plan. Evaluate your overall professional development, and take stock of what you've done well and poorly on various projects. This is a time for you to focus on being better and doing better.

You can also use this time to destress. Go for a walk to clear your head and get some fresh air. You will come back recharged and more productive. You might even have a "light-bulb moment" and come up with innovative approaches for your team. The main thing is to carve out the actual time to work on what's important for your job performance and overall level of stress.

2. Put Down the Device - Connect with Live People!

It's easy to rely on devices and send off a ton of emails. Once you click send, you think the issue is off your plate and is now someone else's responsibility. Just because you sent an email doesn't mean you effectively communicated or aren't still responsible. Technology is great, but it's no replacement for real human connection.

In the New Year, incorporate increased detachment from your smartphone and emails. Stop bringing your smartphone to every meeting and checking your messages every few minutes. Actively listen to what people are actually saying. Not only is this more polite, but you will become a more engaged team player.

When you want to follow up with someone, why not just walk down the hall and speak to them. This will help you develop relationships and cut down on the tone of your emails being misread. Who knows - maybe you will walk in at the right time and get staffed on that big project over which you've been salivating.

3. Add More Polish and Write in Complete Sentences

Virtually everyone texts, which means we abbreviate what we want to communicate daily. However, this isn't how you should write to colleagues and clients when sending emails. If you want to be perceived as a stronger employee who brings polish and professionalism to the table, make a concerted effort to write quality emails and documents.

You can't be accused of being inappropriate when you write in complete sentences and use proper grammar. However, the converse is true. Don't open the door to being perceived as sloppy. Elevate your writing style. After others see your improved writing, you might even be asked to help write an important report for your client or department.

4. Know the Organization's Goals, Mission, and Performance

This is fairly simple to do. If your company or organization has an annual report, read the most recent version. If it has released its plan for the upcoming year or has a five-year plan, then review it. The best way to stay on track professionally in the New Year, is know where the organization is headed - including your department. You should know how your division's goals and your personal performance goals fit into the overall direction of the company. You should revisit where the institution and your department are headed throughout the year so you can benchmark whether your work is on track. Not only will this give you a better sense of direction, but it will ensure that you're aligned with the big picture. When you are in step with your organization, then your chances for recognition and advancement increase.

Collectively, following these four simple New Year's job resolutions will better position you for advancement in the coming year. You will be more engaged with your colleagues, proactively track your progress at work, understand your organization and where you fit in, and help elevate your brand in the workplace. Remember - the best way to be successful year after year is to take charge and implement change. These steps will help keep you on a path for make the upcoming year professionally rewarding.

The Azara Group (TAG) is a consulting firm that promotes the development of leaders in an increasingly competitive and diverse marketplace - providing strategy consulting services and leadership training services to advance professional and life success. TAG leverages expertise in career strategy, diversity, negotiation skills, and business acumen to provide strategic advice and consulting services to help people and organizations get what they want, achieve their goals, and advance their business and career objectives. TAG also helps companies better attract, retain, and promote diverse talent, and develop robust diversity platforms and strategies to create a more inclusive workplace.

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