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4 New Year career resolutions (to last the whole year)

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New Year career resolutions are all very well, but aren’t they mainly for people looking for a new job? Not at all. Setting yourself new objectives and work-related goals in January is even more important if you’re comfortable in your current role.

Keeping an eye on your professional development will stop you stagnating and getting into a rut - not to mention give some clarity on the direction your career is heading.

The key? Decide on a few specific goals you’ll be able to accomplish so you can keep reaping the changes long after January’s over. Here are four to start with…

1 Carve out regular career thinking time

It’s easy to let weeks or months pass when you’re so consumed by just doing your job that you don’t give yourself a chance to actually think about it.

Even if you’re not looking to switch roles, it will give you some clarity to spend time focusing on how you feel things are going. Ask yourself questions like:

● How do I honestly feel about my job?
● What do I love about work, and what would I like to change? What are the practical actions to do that?
● What’s the next step in my career, and how do I get there?
● Are there any skills gaps I need to address?
● Are there any new responsibilities I could take on, or projects outside of my role I could get involved with?

Keep a note of your answers, then commit to a regular slot throughout the year every few months to revisit the questions and see the progress you’re making.

2 Add skills to your CV and LinkedIn

Keeping your CV fresh isn’t just important for job hunters. Nor should you let your LinkedIn profile stagnate when you’re settled in your career.

Revisiting both regularly can give you a clearer picture on your accomplishments so far. Plus, it pays to keep your options open, and if an interesting opportunity comes up you can be ready to go. At HR GO, we know the importance of keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date, in particular – remember that a potential employer or recruiter could check you out at any time.

Your challenge over the next 12 months? Add new skills or training to your CV and LinkedIn to keep you moving forward. If you’re not sure what to aim for, research people working in slightly higher positions to yourself on LinkedIn. Do they have any particular areas of expertise you could mirror in your own skill set?

3 Make one new contact a month

As the saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. That’s why it’s great to have a strong, broad network of contacts outside of your immediate work team.

From offering advice or mentorship on workplace issues to keeping you posted on new job opportunities, surrounding yourself with the right people can pay dividends as you progress through your career.

Aim to make 12 new contacts this year. If one a month sounds too ambitious, focus on strengthening and nurturing your existing relationships.

Whether it’s a Facebook friend who works in your sector you might turn into a valuable work ally, or an ex colleague you make the effort to keep in touch with on LinkedIn, it’s worth reaching out and forging these connections for when you really need them.

4 Work at being fitter and healthier

Taking more exercise and making healthier eating choices is hardly a radical choice for a New Year’s resolution, but it’s growing in importance every year.

In 2015, Public Health England highlighted the risks of sitting still for long periods even if you exercise outside of work - including an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. All the more reason to make an effort to try to build more exercise into your working day.

Even if you’re not lucky enough to have a standing desk, the tried-and-tested advice still stands: Take the stairs instead of jumping in the lift, and try to walk over to see colleagues rather than firing off a quick email.

It’s bad news for the office biscuit tin, too. The Faculty of Dental Surgery recently cast its critical eye on the ‘workplace cake culture’, saying our love of sharing cakes and biscuits in the office contributes to a rise in obesity and dental problems.

It all comes down to willpower of course, but keeping healthy snacks in your desk to combat sugary temptation is a start. Feeling a little fitter and healthier could even help you be more engaged and productive at work, too.

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