6 Tips For Staying Motivated With Your Career Resolutions
It’s the end of January, and regardless of our good intentions, many of us may be slowing down on our resolutions by now. It’s the infamous one-month slip: come this time of year, job seekers may start to become complacent and networking events start to see fewer faces with each meeting. Especially if you haven’t quite been on track with your goal, it’s easy to feel discouraged as the New Year hype wears off.
So regardless of what your resolutions are (or were), it’s time to recharge them! Even if you’ve been doing a great job, take some time to pause and reflect. When it comes to your career, staying on top of goals and making steady progress is vital, so we’ve provided six tips for ensuring you stay on track:
- Announce your goals to hold yourself accountable. As we said in our article on making new years resolutions, spreading the word about your goals is a great way to hold yourself accountable—especially if the people you tell are likely to check in on you. Let some family, friends, and/or colleagues know of your plans, and update them occasionally to let them know how you’re doing. If you need extra motivation, enlist a willing friend to be a “resolution buddy.” He or she can check in for regular updates and motivate you when necessary.
- Review your goals and make sure they’re “S.M.A.R.T.” There’s been a lot of buzz recently about “S.M.A.R.T. goals”—as in, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. If you hadn’t already held your goals up to this standard on January first, do so now. Are your resolutions specific and measurable, rather than vague? Are they attainable and realistic, or too “big picture” to be attained in a timely fashion (in this case, a year)? Assess your resolutions and ensure they’re “S.M.A.R.T.” If not, do some adjusting, and plan accordingly.
- Record your progress. Break your overall goals down to monthly or weekly checkpoints and keep score. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a visual representation of your success, and keeping a running record of your progress is sure to help you chug along. Likewise, if you fall short, you’ll be able to see where and how to fix your mistake, as opposed to feeling generally overwhelmed and behind.
- Be flexible (and forgiving!). Eventually, there will come a time when you don’t quite meet your goals. That’s okay and to be expected. One of the biggest mistakes New Years Resolutioners make is being so rigid with their expectations that, once they fail once or twice, they call off the entire endeavor. Instead, allow yourself some time to assess what went wrong and how you can avoid the problem in the future, and create a plan for catching up to stay on schedule.
- Use technology. There is an overwhelming number of productivity apps out there—checklist apps, calendar apps, storage apps that organize and sync your work to all your devices. Do a bit of research and pick the ones that work best for your particular goal, and keep them up-to-date. Think of them as regular tools that your resolution toolbox wouldn’t be the same without.
- Reward yourself. When you do meet a milestone, celebrate it! Find a reward system that works best for you—for example, watching an episode of your favorite TV show for every 5 jobs you apply to, or taking yourself out for a drink after each networking event you attend. If you’re working hard, even something as simple as taking a walk to clear your mind will do. Just pick something that feels rewarding to you, and use it as not only a motivational tool but as a way to congratulate yourself for another step taken in the direction of your resolution.