New Year's Career Resolutions: 11 Worth Making -- And Keeping
I hope you'll find at least one of these career- and life-boosting resolutions worth making and maybe even worth keeping:
'I will answer all email within 24 hours.'
It's okay even to respond, "I'm swamped. Will get back to you in 2-3 days." But not responding at all within 24 hours makes people pull out their hair, and that's not good for your career. Abbreviated reminder: Answer email!
'I'll talk less, listen more.'
The old saw is wise: "You have two ears and one mouth, so spend twice as much time listening as talking." Being a chatterbox hurts you in and outside of work, especially if you also don't listen carefully to others -- a more difficult task than most people realize.
The key to managing procrastination is to be aware of that moment when you're deciding, often unconsciously, whether to do that important task or to escape the uncomfortability by doing something fun, for example, Internet shopping versus finishing that spreadsheet.
'I'll invoke the wise man/woman within me, not the loser within me.'
Most of us know the wise thing to do but too often opt for expediency. As with the previous resolutions, key is staying conscious, often asking yourself, "What would my best self do now?"
'I will replace dabbling with laser-beam focus on something important.'
Unless you're brilliant and so can master multiple things simultaneously, dabblers rarely achieve much career success. What's one thing you should focus on, at least for a while, that would abet your career? It feels great to be the expert on something, the go-to guy/gal.
Alas, society is lookist, so if you don't want to start out with a strike or two against you, it's worth reasonable effort to look your best: clothes, hair and weight.
'I'll focus at least as much on being competent as on being nice.'
Some people try to get away with laziness by being nice. That doesn't always work. More important, successful, content people generally aim to be as productive as possible, not to get away with as little work as possible.
'I will stop being so self-absorbed.'
Too much introspection can straitjacket you into analysis paralysis. It's usually wise to not look back to past pain but to accept your basic self, put yourself in situations that accentuate your strengths, and focus on helping others and being productive, a baby step at a time.
Is there someone in your life, professional or personal, who you should see more of? Less of? For example, is a co-worker so odious to you that you should try to get that person transferred or fired? If you're a boss, is it time to counsel-out a supervisee who's in the wrong job, perhaps helping him or her to find a better-suited position? That can help avoid a painful "wrongful termination" lawsuit.
'At least monthly, I will get together for coffee, lunch, etc., with someone who can help my career.'
Facebook "friends" and LinkedIn "followers" can't take the place of real relationships. And you'll more likely build solid connections over coffee than in the cloud. Of course, don't meet just to get help. Give at least as much as you hope to get.
'I will finally address my substance abuse problem.'
Most people don't realize they have an abuse problem. Be honest with yourself: Is your drinking affecting you at work? Is your pot smoking affecting your motivation and/or memory? (If so, here is my guidance on how to address the problem.)
This last one you need to come up with. The most important resolution is the one you generate yourself. What's the one resolution that would most abet your worklife and perhaps personal life
Write down at least one of those resolutions on a Post-It note and stick it on your computer frame as an ongoing reminder.
My resolution is to make my posts as helpful as possible while being occasionally entertaining.
Do you have any resolutions for 2013? Share your thoughts in the comments section, or join me for AOL Jobs' Lunchtime Live video chat on Friday, Jan. 4, 12:30 p.m. EST. Join me on the AOL Jobs Google+ page!
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The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Dr. Nemko "The Bay Area's Best Career Coach" and he was Contributing Editor for Careers at U.S. News where he now also blogs. His sixth and seventh books were published in 2012: How to Do Life: What They Didn't Teach You in School and What's the Big Idea? 39 Disruptive Proposals for a Better America . More than 1,000 of his published writings are free on www.martynemko.com. He posts here weekly.
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