So we have now entered a new calendar year, which people often view as the time to make resolutions about what they plan to accomplish before the end of the year. Maybe you are one of those people. If so, I have a different approach to suggest to you–especially since it seems that resolution-makers too often become resolution-breakers! Whether you are contemplating the need or desire to find a new job or to launch yourself on a new career path or to achieve some other goal you believe will make a wonderful difference in your life, the approach I have in mind could help you make progress you might otherwise not.
I suggest that you start by abandoning the concept of a calendar year as the framework for any career management resolutions you make. If you’re strongly attached to the idea of a year, consider adopting a year that begins with your birthday or your anniversary or whatever other point you choose. The key here is that you get to choose the timing–it’s not dictated by the time of year. For example, if you decide tomorrow that you are going to change to a higher-level and/or better-paying job within a year, put that target on your calendar and do the planning and scheduling necessary to keep you moving toward your goal.
Alternatively, I love the idea of breaking out of the yearly time-frame altogether. After all, a year isn’t what it used to be (look at some of the ancient ideas of calendaring, if you’re curious). It is, in a sense, an arbitrary, man-made measurement of time. I don’t see anything wrong with deciding, say, that you’re going to refocus your direction, pursue a new career and achieve that goal within the next six months, if the physical steps required for it are humanly achievable within that time-period. The main point is that you do need to choose a time, not just set goals that have no end-date and no way to measure progress toward them.
Cut yourself some slack on what you did or didn’t accomplish in the previous 12-month period (or whatever time-period you chose), in terms of landing a new job or progressing in your career. Remember, we’re talking about new beginnings now.
Obviously you need to decide whether any unfinished business still really needs to be done and include it in your new career resolutions (with modifications, if needed). Other than that, you’re the one in charge of this process, and you can wipe the rest of the slate clean and start fresh. Something that once seemed important–even critical–might no longer be at or near the top of your “to do” list. If so, feel free to let it go! That’s a great way to make room for the new without overwhelming yourself.