Everyone starts the new year with good intentions, but maybe that’s the problem. With good intentions and $11 you can buy a monthly Netflix subscription. For most of us, the only thing we remember about last year’s NYE resolutions is the whooshing sound they made as they flew by, uncompleted. So let’s make 2019 different. Let’s make 2019 the year we actually keep a journal, hit the gym, start that side hustle, go back to school.
Here’s 7 tips to help you get motivated and kick career goals in the new year.
Don’t make a resolution list, make a plan
Research has shown that fewer than 10% of people actually keep our NYE resolutions. There’s some solid science to back this up: most resolutions are either unrealistic or too vague to help. Exercise more? How much more? Does walking to the cupboard to grab a bag of Doritos count? Instead make a New Year’s plan. Set specific goals, timelines and daily rituals, then stick to them. There is a silver light here, the study above also found that people who set resolutions are ten times more likely to hit their goals than people who did nothing.
Look for opportunities to upskill
You don’t need another article telling you about AI disrupting traditional industries. If there was ever a time in human history where it was savvy to broaden your skill-set, it’s now. AI strategy, Python coding, self-driving cars and robotics, CX product management, Blockchain – there’s a tonne of exciting new tech on the horizon. Hitachi’s president Brian Householder says the best way we can brace for change is be prepared: “It gives you the best opportunity to succeed,” he says. “Because we could get the smartest people in the world to figure out the kinds of skills that we need, and I guarantee that we’re going to get most of it wrong.”
Book in your conferences now
This is good sense for a couple of reasons. One, the best conferences and networking events tend to fill up quick. And two, locking in personal development opportunities helps give the year some structure. Just fork out the ticket price now, chuck it in your diary, and that’s it – you’ve already hit your PD targets for 2019. If you need some inspiration and ideas, sites like All Conference Alert have pulled together a list of upcoming Australian events.
A classic NYE resolution, and one of the hardest to follow. But the psychology behind being organised is pretty compelling. Research has found it can reduce stress, help you eat better, boost productivity and make audits 100% less painful (that one’s not science, but it makes good sense). In analogue days, this meant buying a calendar and a filing cabinet, but there are a bunch of great apps that can de-clutter your business life. Try Trello for task management, Quickbooks or Xero for bookkeeping, Evernote to keep track of your thoughts and ideas, and Awesome Note 2 for everything in between.
Lock in a holiday
You probably just came off a holiday, so strutting into the office and asking your boss for two weeks in August might not sound like the great idea, but studies have shown that having a holiday ‘in the works’ is one of the biggest things you can do to boost your happiness (in fact, science says you technically have more fun planning holidays than going on them). Like booking conferences and networking events, locking in a holiday now helps give you something to aim at. A reward at the end of the rainbow. It has also been shown to make co-workers 14% more envious, which is never a bad thing. Here’s a good place to start daydreaming.
Find a mentor
Steve Jobs had one. So did Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Getting a good mentor is one of the best things you can do to boost your career and help you stick to your business goals. There are platforms to help connect mentees with potential mentors, but there’s no substitute for some targeted LinkedIn messaging and cold calling. It’s scary and awkward, but Switch Automation founder, Deborah Noller, reckons you’ll be surprised how many people say yes. “In my experience anyone who reaches out, almost nobody says ‘no’ to them,” she says.
Listen to David Foster Wallace
This is just good life advice in general. You’re about to psych yourself up for a brand new year. It’s going to be hard. You’re probably going to fail – a lot. You’re definitely going to get frustrated and anxious. So it pays to get into the right headspace now. My advice? Listen to David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech to Kenyon College in 2005, This Is Water: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI