Oh January, how we love you and your empty promises, otherwise known as “resolutions.” The gym is packed, the refrigerator is full of vegetables, and we have finally dumped that potential significant other who should have been less than significant from the start. January holds so much promise. We’ve turned the page on a fresh new start; we know how to make goals; and we know exactly how we want to succeed.
And — then February happens. Winter has really set in, and the excitement of goal-setting has lost its fizzle. Spring seems forever away, and we lose our verve. So, how do we make sure the goals we have set at the beginning of the year are achieved?
Develop a Year-Long Strategic Calendar
Writing the end goal down is wonderful, but let’s take this a step further. Using the example of getting a new job by the end of 2018, there are steps one should take for success. Write each of those down in your calendar, effectively creating deadlines. Revamping your resume and cover letter; updating your LinkedIn profile; applying to at least 10 jobs a week; setting up five appointments with a recruiter; going to 20 networking events this year — all of these are concrete items on a no longer virtual to-do list that can be created throughout the year.
Hone Your Craft Each and Every Day
Continuing education for any type of field is key. Think back to the cell phone you had in college. If that has aged, it is possible that your education may already need a brushing up in this rapidly-changing digital world. Take a look at the year-long calendar of classes in your area (in person or online) and write a few down that strike your fancy (see tip No. 1).
Additionally, if writing or artistic ability is in your wheelhouse, don’t forget to do something to hone that craft each and every day. Keep a journal; work on something you love. If you miss a day, that could turn into two, three, a week, a month, and then the end goal is lost.
Make Friends Within Your Field
The buzzword on this topic is networking, but we sub headlined this one “make friends” for a reason. Yes, networking events and schmoozing with people in your field is a great way to exchange business cards. However, chances are one 10-minute conversation won’t get you very far. Let’s also take this one a step further. Invite your newfound connection to lunch, a game night, a holiday get-together, etc. Getting to know people on a more personal level will showcase who you really are. And, in a time where fitting into a company’s culture is cited as an aspect recruiters are looking for in 2018, your personality, not just your resume’s credentials, may make all the difference.
Make the Work-Life Balance Count
Take the vacation — for real. Turn off the electronics for a week and see how amazing that feels. The first few days may leave you reaching for your phone, but after a few days it’s freeing. Burnout is a real thing; even Oprah has been spotted on the beach, so you can do it too. Those who punch a 9 to 5 time clock have the luxury of checking out at the end of the day. But, chances are many of us are workaholics who are checking our email late at night or making those last revisions when we can’t sleep at 2 a.m. More companies than ever are relaxing their work-from-home policies, which has its pros and cons. When working from home, sometimes the hours never end and we become chained to our electronic devices. Be cognizant of this and really keep track of the hours you are working — 40 can turn into 70 before you know it, and a burned-out employee helps no one.
Wake Up Early
Mark Wahlberg recently spoke at an event in the Midwest, and whether you love him or hate him, he had one piece of advice that stuck. During the question and answer portion of the talk, someone asked what is the one piece of advice he could give of how he stays successful. Wahlberg said, “Wake up early.” Wahlberg typically goes to bed at around 7:30 p.m. and wakes up at around 4 a.m. to start his day. By the time his kids are ready to go to wake up for school, Wahlberg has already read scripts, went to the gym and retreated to his meditation room for at least 10 minutes of quiet time to himself.
While this may be an extreme example, studies have shown that getting a good night’s sleep and rising early are keys to having a more productive day. And, with 365 of those coming in 2018, we have the potential to make any goal we set a reality.