7 Career Resolutions - Be your best professional self in 2023Jan 08, 2023
As we turn the corner on the first week of 2023, many of us are still thinking about our hopes and dreams for the year ahead. According to Statista, about 39% of Americans set resolutions in 2022. In 2023, the resolutions we most often intend to make are focused on living healthier lifestyles (like improving diet, exercising more, losing weight).
It’s important to cultivate our physical and mental health, and resolutions can get us on that path. But what about looking after our career health? When’s the last time you set goals to improve your professional habits?
Here are 7 simple Career Resolutions that will help you show up as your best professional self in 2023.
Career Resolution 1: I will start my day knowing my priorities
Starting the workday by jumping into emails or meetings is wildly common. When you start your day in a reactive mode, you could very well spend your entire workday on the dreaded “urgent but not important” matters. These are issues that demand your immediate and full attention, but aren’t actually the highest impact use of your time. Start your day with a morning routine that allows you to be mindful about where you spend your energy. Decide what the three biggest priorities for your day are, and create time to actually work on them. What is most important to achieve should always be clear, and the decision to work on other matters (even ones that seem pressing) should be made intentionally, rather than because you didn’t have time to reflect on where your time should go.
Career Resolution 2: I won’t go to meetings just because I’m invited
Adam Grant posted recently that a whole THIRD of meetings are unnecessary, wasting massive amounts of time and company resources. If you go to a meeting, there should be a reason, and being invited alone shouldn’t be enough. Will your presence enable faster decision making or better quality decisions? Will your presence allow you to learn in a way that’s aligned with your personal or professional goals? Will your presence allow you to form or deepen relationships that matter to you? Will your presence enable meaningful progress on priority work? If you can’t answer any of those questions with a resounding “yes!”, rethink attending, and ask for the notes instead.
Career Resolution 3: I will align on and recap action items
Resolve to wrap up any meeting, conversation or email with clearly defined next steps. Who will do what? By when? You’d be surprised how often great momentum withers away because there’s an ambiguous understanding of what actions will happen next. Stating these clearly in the meeting (or the email, or the conversation) will help expose any misunderstandings, and ensure that work will continue without wasting effort on confusion.
Career Resolution 4: I will ask the question “what is the problem we are trying to solve”
Have you ever sat in a conversation that felt like it was swirling without making any progress? That is the perfect moment to jump in with “what is the problem we are trying to solve?”. A lot of time is wasted by different participants of conversation or project having a fundamentally different perspective on the problem at hand. If you don’t have a clear problem statement, start there. Trying to find a solution that everyone will agree to when no one is on the same page about the problem is unlikely to be productive.
Career Resolution 5: I will embrace feedback
Seeing feedback as something to be embraced and celebrated is essential to continued growth as a professional. And as it turns out, there are two ways you can maximize how much feedback you get.
- Ask for it. The more specific the better. Good: I’d love your feedback on my presentation skills. Better: I’d love your specific on how I presented in that meeting we were in together. Best: I’d like your feedback on my presentation skills, can you observe me in the meeting we have coming up and give me feedback after?
- Make it easy! If your initial reaction is to be defensive, to debate or argue, rather than to understand, odds are good that people will think twice before giving you feedback. When you receive feedback, first acknowledge it (what you’re saying is…), then appreciate it (thank you for your feedback), and seek to understand it (I really want to understand how you experienced that, can you tell me more?).
Feedback is a gift, if you approach it with an open mind and desire to grow.
Career Resolution 6: I will manage scope
Resist the urge to default to over-delivering - doing as much as possible, as quickly as possible, every time. When you’re assigned work, make the effort to understand what’s being asked, and when it’s needed. There are too many examples of people working nights and weekends to deliver a perfect product when a high level estimate that would have taken 15 minutes would have been sufficient. Or giving up on their exercise and family time to deliver something tomorrow, when next week would have been just fine. Start asking questions that allow you to understand how much work is appropriate to invest, and what timeline you need to hit.
Career Resolution 7: I will take breaks
Taking breaks is so important. Working all the time does not help you be more productive, in fact it does the opposite. Taking breaks boosts wellbeing and performance. Resolve to take breaks in 2023. Don’t go from one meeting to another without a few moments spent resetting. Don’t work through lunch every day thinking you’re buying better output. Schedule breaks if you need to!
What career resolutions will you try?
Whether you go all-in with these 7 Career Resolutions, or try just a few, celebrate your progress. You might find it helpful to follow a specific process to set your goals and resolutions, maybe even try a facilitated goal setting workshop. These career resolutions are small interventions, but the impact they can have on your productivity, your wellbeing, and your growth are enormous. Go ahead, give them a try!
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