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10 New Year's career resolutions

Secret to success is setting achievable goals


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It's that time again. Time to make those New Year's resolutions in an attempt to regain control over some part of our lives: the part that has gotten away from us in the past year or has been slowly slipping away for a long time.

If your career is losing direction, maybe it's time to make not only personal resolutions but also a professional one, too.

Making a resolution about your job or any other aspect of your life is really nothing more than goal setting. Merriam-Webster defines a goal as: "The end toward which effort is directed: aim."

The secret to success is setting goals that are achievable. They should make you stretch, but with effort they should be within reach.

Workplace-career expert Pamela J. Holland -- chief operating officer of Brody Communications Ltd. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and co-author of "Help! Was That a Career Limiting Move?" -- weighs in on a list of 10 resolutions for the business set.

1. Brush up on skills: Take a class or go to a seminar. "It is essential to set learning goals on a regular basis. As the saying goes, 'If you're not green and growing, you're ripe and rotting.' "

2. Learn more about new technology: "Technology is here to stay. If you're a novice, shame on you. Communication is essential for business success. Take stock of where you're the weakest and change that."

3. Update that resume: "Others may disagree with me, but the time it takes to do a resume well should support doing it only when you truly are planning to find new opportunities outside of -- or within -- your company." (In this day and age, change is often unplanned. We still feel it's a good idea to be prepared.)

4. Learn a foreign language: "Especially if your work puts you in contact on a regular basis with people who speak another language. Spanish in particular is a good choice these days as there are many areas of the U.S. where Spanish-speaking populations are dominant."

5. Clean out old files, e-mails, Rolodexes, etc.: "Cleaning up old files is a great way to revisit priorities and gain perspective on what's really important. Not only will it give you a fresh start to the year ahead, but if you pay careful attention to what you keep and what you toss it may help you manage your workload more effectively in the future."

When it comes to technology, Holland warns not to succumb to ads touting the newest technological trend; instead she says know yourself and choose tools that match your personality.

6. Network with five people a month: "Commit to expanding your knowledge base and understanding of your company or industry in broader ways. Once you've identified what you have to learn in those areas, determine the people who will help you realize those goals and meet with them accordingly."

7. Read New York Times best sellers on business trends: "It's important to be well-versed on business trends, even if it's nothing more than to find your way to a healthy debate with others."

8. Find more time for self/family each week: "More and more effective leaders that I know are looking for a 'blend' of family and work life versus a balance of the two. Look for ways to integrate both aspects of your life. Let family join you on a business trip, leave the office early on an afternoon to attend your child's sporting event, or share family reading time by catching up on that New York Times best seller on business while sitting next to your children or spouse."

9. Put more money in a 401(k) or savings: "Saving for retirement is a critically important goal. Simply commit yourself to take that next pay increase and put [it] in your 401(k) before you ever have the chance to miss it."

Making this part of your career goals will give you peace of mind that you're building toward a more comfortable retirement.

10. Exercise, eat healthy, find your best way to invigorate: "Find ways to exercise with your family, and pay attention to what you're eating. Take time to reflect on what activities invigorate you and commit more time to doing them."

© Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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