New Year's Resolutions
Have you got personal targets you want to hit next year? Image: Tanoy1412/Shutterstock

10 New Year’s resolutions to help you in your career

20 Dec 2017

Careers editor Jenny Darmody looks back at 2017 to inspire some New Year’s resolutions that will help you in your career in the year ahead.

As 2017 comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on how the year has been for you.

Did you achieve everything you wanted to? Are there things you wish you had done differently? Are you hoping to make next year even more successful?

Throughout the year, the Careers team has tried to bring you all the advice you need to succeed in your job and further your own career journey.

From the job hunt and the interview process to a change of direction in your journey, we’ve had you covered, not only on our own, but with the help of some thought leaders and experts along the way.

And we’ve learned plenty, too. You don’t talk to leading experts without learning a thing or two. So, this year, we’re gleaning our New Year’s resolutions from some of those lessons.

Looking to set some targets that will help you further your career and give you a more fulfilling life next year? Here are some tips.

Keep a ‘busy jar’ on your desk

Much like a swear jar, this is a great way to become more aware of the language you use and how it can affect you.

In conversation with psychologist Gerry Hussey, I learned how easy it was to stress myself out. “Every word you say is emotionally loaded. ‘I’m busy. I’m stressed. I’ve a big meeting.’ How big is the meeting? Is it going to be four football pitches wide?” asked Hussey.

Next year, put a ‘busy jar’ on your desk and make a contribution every time you consciously tell yourself that you’re busy or stressed. The fewer times you say it, the more you’ll reduce your own stress levels. Plus, you can buy yourself something nice at the end of the year.

Stop trying to multitask

While there are plenty of articles out there to help you multitask when you really need to, most of the advice will tell you that multitasking isn’t real.

At Unleash (formerly HR Tech World), Arianna Huffington said the illusion of multitasking is one of the most stressful things we can do. “You think you can do both but you’re only increasing the level of stress in life because there’s no such thing as multitasking, it’s called task-switching,” she said.

Trying to do multiple things at once is bound to stress you out. Suddenly, you’ll be adding to that busy jar more often than you can afford to. Make a conscious effort to focus on one task at a time next year and see how you get on.

Learn a new skill

This is often a good New Year’s resolution, particularly when it comes to increasing your career success.

But, despite our best intentions, we get busy (there I go again) and we forget about that course we intended to take. That said, there are plenty of easier ways to upskill outside of work without needing a course.

Admittedly, this is a lesson I should have learned last year when we first covered it. With so many options to upskill, there’s room for you to learn something new every year.

Improve your to-do lists

Are you sensing a theme yet? I probably spent most of last year learning how to maximise my productivity. Then, I spent most of this year unlearning bad habits that have inadvertently caused me to overwork and become stressed.

While multitasking may be a myth, to-do lists can be a great way to focus your mind on the tasks at hand and help you manage your time better.

However, to-do lists stress us out if they’re not utilised properly. Take the time to work out how to use them properly to help you, not hinder you.

Make a better morning routine

January can be tough for new resolutions, particularly when it comes to improving your morning routine because it’s still so dark and cold.

However, a better morning is more likely to lead to a better day. Former Trinity College Dublin Business Student of the Year Ben Butler was able to completely overhaul his morning routine, and it’s a system we should all adopt.

“I’m not getting up to do 10-mile runs and squeeze pomegranate juice, or whatever it is that successful people do in the mornings –  but I do get set up well for the day ahead,” he said.

Make the most of your commute

Speaking of a better start to the day, there’s nothing worse than taking the time to make your own morning routine better, only for your commute to drag you down.

However, you can still have a certain amount of control over how much you get out of it.

If you hate your commute to and from work, there are a number of things you can do to try and improve it, and I’ll definitely be giving them a go next year.

Read some career-boosting books

Reading more books in general is on my New Year’s resolution list every year, both fiction and non-fiction.

For those looking to specifically further their career, there are plenty of career-boosting books that will help you improve your work-life balance, break your bad habits and learn how to become indispensable to your company.

In that vein, we have rounded up eight top books that will help you go further in your career next year, so get reading!

Be more empathetic

There are plenty of tangible things you can do to improve your career. This is mainly because they are easy to track and check off the list.

But sometimes, improving your behaviour can be the most rewarding and valuable New Year’s resolution you make.

In conversation with empathy coach Sharon Steed, she said that the first way to improve communication skills is to be extremely patient.

“We should be viewing conversations from the point of view of, ‘How can I take away something profound? How can I be inspired?’ All of those things only happen if we’re paying attention to all of the things that other people are trying to say,” she said.

Looking to improve your empathy even further? Check out these 20 tips.

Overhaul your LinkedIn profile

A new year is a good time to freshen up your LinkedIn profile – but an interactive CV is only as good as what you put into it.

I spoke to Wendy Murphy, senior HR director at LinkedIn EMEA, earlier this year about the biggest pitfalls people fall into when it comes to their LinkedIn profiles, and what they can do to improve them.

“Try and make it a real reflection of your professional career,” she said. “This is your digital brand, so invest a bit of time into getting it right.”

Practise more mindfulness

Well, I did say there was a theme to the New Year’s resolutions, and it’s about reducing stress. So, on that note, everyone should make an effort to bring more mindfulness into their day.

You can practise mindfulness at any time to switch off your work brain and reduce stress in the office.

If you want to get into the habit of making mindfulness a part of your daily routine next year, we’ve got some tips to help get you started.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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