The new year has begun. It’s traditional to make “Resolutions” at this time, but as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t do that. I make goals instead. I like things to be measurable, and I hold myself accountable to those goals - some of which deal with my professional life.
But you might not buy into all that. Perhaps you’re the kind of person who doesn’t buy Valentine’s day cards, or take your significant other out for dinner on Valentine’s day. After all, it’s a manufactured, made up holiday from the greeting-card companies, right? Somebody just decided to come up with a day to make you do something you don’t normally do.
Here’s a tip: do it anyway. Buy the flowers. Jump into the hype. Yes, it’s a made-up holiday. Yes, they’re making money off of you. But take that person out for the nicest dinner you can find. Treating someone you love in a special way on a periodic date is shown to increase the bond in a relationship, simply because it’s a ritual date that others keep. The ritual is the magic.
What does this have to do with New Year’s, or your career? Everything. Not to burst a bubble here, but the universe is not aware of human timekeeping mechanisms. The New Year is just as artificial as Valentine’s day. In fact, many other cultures don’t even count the 1st of January as the New Year. But it’s OK - just like Valentine’s day, you can use the “start of the new year” as a time to focus on something you need to do.
It’s pretty simple to do this - but of course simple != easy. Goals need to be realistic - so sit down sometime this week, and follow this process:
- Write down where you want to be in a year in your career. Make it specific. An award, a position, a company, a raise. Write it down.
- Write down a few books you want to read that will help you get there. Blog about these books.
- Write down the people you need to talk to, inside your company and out. Send an invite out to these people to chat. Do that this week.
- Write down the things you need to accomplish for that goal in your job.
- Tell others you are doing these things, and what you expect.
- Implement your plan.
- Review your plan and adjust as needed each month.
Yes, the “new year” is artificial, like Valentine’s day. So what. Use it to get where you need to go.
Happy New Career.