A new decade! What an opportunity to approach goals and intentions with a fresh outlook. A clean slate, a chance to really focus on making changes in countless facets of our lives. When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, we all start out with genuinely good intentions, but how many New Year’s resolutions have already faded away, even in the first week of the new year?
One of the primary reasons we are inclined to set new goals and start the year fresh in the first place is because we want to change a bad habit, start a new habit, or simply want to do something different. The majority of us set personal goals for improvement around this time of year, but how can you be your very best self in the workplace? What changes do you want to make to start this new decade off on the right foot?
When setting personal resolutions for yourself, consider applying one (or more) of these resolutions towards your professional goals for 2020:
- Stagnation– It happens to be best of us. There are times when we get bored, but when it extends to a pattern of being content to be bored, that is an issue. If you are uninspired and unmotivated to perform, make it a point to challenge yourself to try new things, learn new tasks, and do what you can to keep busy and out of the slump that results in a lack of productivity.
- Gossiping and Complaining – Enough is enough. Whining about small and insignificant things, engaging in office drama, and participating in talking behind someone’s back is not only unprofessional, but incredibly unproductive. Make it a resolution to not partake in office gossip and be the bigger person, simply walk away from toxic conversations whether that be gossiping about a fellow coworker or complaining about simple policy changes. Keep the negativity at bay.
- Being Critical of Others – The same concept that applies to office gossip applies to criticizing others. As a manager, constructive criticism is sometimes necessary, but make it a point to keep unnecessary criticism to a minimum. If you are not a supervisor, it really isn’t your place to criticize the work of others. Having constructive conversations with colleagues is one thing; picking on and pointing out mistakes just for the sake of making yourself feel better is a bad workplace habit that we should all strive to break or avoid.
- Poor Time Management – It is a habit that is far too easy to fall into. Mindlessly scrolling down social media news feeds when there is a lull in the work day. Procrastinating on a work project that isn’t “that” time sensitive. Focus on making the most out of every minute. When you really strive to find balance in your work duties, you’ll find that you won’t reach a point of burn out as a result of pushing everything off to the last minute, at which point you’re overwhelmed and overworked.
Take advantage of this fresh start to the new year, this new decade, and say goodbye to bad habits that may be hindering your chances at success and happiness in the workplace. Good workplace habits ensure productivity and can improve your professional image and reputation. Remember, you can develop good workplace routines at any time, not just at the start of new decade, a new year, a new week, or a new month. Always strive to do better, and be better.
Upon returning to work from maternity leave, Elizabeth was faced with a number of changes to the organization that had transpired in her absence. Her department underwent a major restructuring resulting in new management and significant changes to the scope of her work. Always up for a new challenge, Elizabeth hit the ground running and was initially optimistic about the recent transitions.
After a few months however, Elizabeth struggled with balancing work and motherhood, and as her new duties were no longer a source of passion and fulfillment for her, she found herself struggling to adapt to the direction her organization was going. Deciding to cut her losses and view this as an opportunity to focus on her family for the time being, Elizabeth made the decision to resign from her position.
Fortunately for Elizabeth, her story had a positive outcome although she struggled with the change she was presented with. In so many instances of change in the workplace, we often try our very hardest to maintain an optimistic mindset when presented with a difficult situation. Sometimes, we can overcome the challenge and are able to learn and grow from the experience. Other times, we need to be able to recognize when it is time to take a step back, cut bait and run.
There are a few questions you must ask yourself with determining when we should keep trying, and when we should admit defeat. Have you adopted a positive mindset and approached the challenge with a willingness to succeed? Have you accepted that change is inevitable and attempted to use the situation as an opportunity for growth? Have you been successful in dealing with other transitions that you’ve been faced with, but just can’t seem to overcome this one? If the answer is yes to even one of these, it may be time to move on.
Even the most professionally successful of us don’t win every battle. We are all human and all have to take a step back and recognize that moving on from a situation that is unwinnable is not a sign of failure, rather an indication of professional maturity in understanding that the stress and negativity that some circumstances bring about are simply not worth our time and energy.
Next Monday marks an unusual occurrence: the start of a new week, a new month, and a new year. Talk about a clean slate all around! The start of a new year is often a time to set goals and make plans. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions often crash and burn by February, leaving many defeated and disappointed. Setting professional goals that are attainable and realistic, both short and long-term, will help ensure that you are continuously working on some aspect of your career growth.
Heidi currently works as a personal banker at a local credit union. Her long-term career objective is to eventually reach an SVP (Senior Vice President) level within the next 5 years. This long-term career goal serves as a great foundation to set smaller, short-term objectives, with the next step of her career planning being determining what she needs to do to achieve this long-term goal. These more immediate objectives can include activities and various actions to participate in to reach the ultimate end result.
For example, a short-term goal Heidi can set would be determining what education is needed for that SVP position. Once she verifies those requirements, she can register for and participate in online certification courses, webinars, and other e-learning opportunities. Another option is to enroll in college courses or other training courses that are required/recommended for that job.
Talking with other individuals who currently hold, or have held, this position and developing realistic activities to participate in to help further develop the skills necessary for this position is another great sub-goal. Asking for small, manageable projects to gain skills and experience and volunteering to assist with other projects are additional short-term objectives she can set for herself to ensure that she is always working towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
Once short and long-term career goals are set and steps to achieve these goals have been defined and developed, make sure the plan is consistently reviewed and modified as necessary to ensure achievability. Adjust time frames, set rewards for achieving even the smallest of goals, and share the plan with others to get feedback and support.
New Year’s resolutions do not have to be daunting. Setting realistic and attainable career goals to work on throughout the year will help encourage professional growth and satisfaction.
This month we have discussed the various ways we plan for the end of the year, including general tidying and organization, finishing up projects and year-end goals, and reviewing what went wrong if any goals have not reached fruition. With two months left in the year, as we tie up all of these lose ends and prepare to close the door on 2017, it is time to look ahead and plan for the start of the new year. What can we do now to ensure that 2018 begins in an efficient and productive manner?
- Review Internal Policies and Procedures – Both HR and Management can participate in this annual evaluation of what policies are outdated and need a refresh, and what procedures need some tweaking to match the culture and processes of the organization. Review the last year and determine what worked and what didn’t, and plan to collaborate on how to effectively renew and implement these processes.
- Review HR-Related Documents and Systems – Predominantly the role of HR, similarly to how you would review internal policies and procedures, take a look at forms and documents and HR systems (e.g. leave administration and tracking, EEO tracking and reporting, vacation scheduling, etc.) and see what tweaks can be made to ensure everything is working as seamlessly and proficiently as possibly, both for the employee and for HR and management on the back end.
- Review Operational Functions – A task that generally requires the buy in from management and possibly from your employees (such as receiving feedback from a focus group), review operational functions and performance to determine what, if anything, needs to be modified to make certain your clients and customers receive the best service possible, and that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.
- Prepare for Goal Setting – As we complete our goals from the past year, take a look ahead and honestly think about what you want to accomplish in 2018. With a fresh start and a chance to work with a clean slate, be proactive in your goal setting preparation and being brainstorming your personal and professional objectives and what you need to do to get there.
Taking a preemptive approach will help you have a strong game plan in place for a successful and productive new year. Especially if there were some areas where you faltered in the past, taking a long hard look at what you can change to do better will help ensure that you work in the most effective and efficient manner possible, resulting in victories that will benefit both you and your organization.
This season, wrapping up end of year goals has many professionals scrambling to tie up loose ends and finish projects before 2017 comes to a close. While we all hope to succeed both at an individual level and for the overall success for our organization, sometimes we simply can’t reach that light at the end of the tunnel. At the end of the day, when we fail to finish what we set out to accomplish, all we can do is brush ourselves off and try again.
An important first step in bouncing back when a goal is not met, is taking the time to understand the underlying issues as to why you didn’t reach the end result. There are various reasons why we fail to meet our goals, including: a lack of commitment to the objective, stagnation or inactivity, failing to effectively plan out steps towards reaching the goal, and failing to manage tasks and time.
When we understand the “why” behind what went wrong, we can move forward and take this setback as a teachable moment and an opportunity to learn and grow. Some of the deeper issues to the above reasons why goals may fail can be a lack of loyalty to the company, a lack of motivation, and an absence of a true destination or purpose.
While all of these problems are separate matters all together, as they pertain to goal setting and failing to reach a goal, it is all a matter of changing your approach. Failure is simply a way of telling us that something is wrong. View failure as a type of feedback, take a step back from the situation and review that feedback objectively, and clear your mind for a second attempt at the endeavor.
Be brutally honest with yourself when you’re reviewing what went wrong the first time around. If you were simply lazy when it came to doing the work, why were you not engaged? Are your actions enough to reach the end goal and if not, what do you need to do differently?
Finally, don’t be ashamed to ask for help and seek guidance. Part of learning and growing is to not be afraid of failure and to truly want to do better in the future. Reach out to your supervisor, your coach or mentor, or a coworker or colleague who you can talk with to obtain constructive advice and guidance as to what you can do differently to thrive.