Q: It was a very different – and difficult – year, 2020. I would like to be positive now and make 2021 count with proper new year’s resolutions in my life and career. Any advice you can offer? (BC, email).
A: A new year offers us a blank page. It is our choice how well we use it. The experience of the last few months is maybe what we needed to focus and redefine our new year’s resolutions, writes Ines Gonzalez, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
We cannot ignore what has happened. And a positive development of COVID-19 is that we had a bit more time to think. We slowed down a bit. Let’s use our new knowledge and experience to our advantage.
The pandemic may have interfered with your 2020 resolutions so maybe revisiting that list is a good place to start. Are there still things in that list you wish to achieve? Are they no longer relevant?
Once you have identified some areas to work on, make sure these are your resolutions. Sometimes there are many voices, including those of family members or work colleagues, in our head telling us to do things.
Be critical and question if this is really what you want to do, or what you are supposed to do. Be wary of anything that feels a bit uncomfortable just thinking about it.
You mentioned you want to be positive. Framing your resolution in a positive way is important. It will help you to reach your goal.
For example, saying “I can’t stay another day in my current job” means you are not sure of your goal. But if you say “this year I will change my job to a role within financial services” is very different. Now we know the goal, it’s clear and specific.
Resolutions are active entities
At some point you may realise that your initial goal is not really what you want to do. This is part of the process of identifying actions in the first place. Actions will bring clarity on your real objectives. For that reason, it is a good idea to check and assess them periodically.
It’s not enough to just list your goals for the new year. You need an action plan to be able to achieve them. If your goal is big, divide it into manageable steps or tasks, and add dates to be completed. Crossing off the steps or tasks will give you a sense of moving forward while keeping you on track.
Most experts agree on getting a support group around your goals. Sharing and talking about what you are going to do, are other ways to keep you on track.
But they can also add to the pressure of achieving your goals. Not everybody is comfortable sharing goals. So, it is up to you to decide what is best in your case.
My last bit of advice is to be kind to yourself. Be realistic in what you want to achieve. You will be faced with challenges and probably some failures. Please celebrate any small successes as you pursue your goal.
Finally, I would like to mention all the ones out there that do not want to make new year’s resolutions. As with everything else in life, this is not for everybody. Also, it is okay to create a new goal in the middle of July, for example.
Ines Gonzalez is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers.
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