Tips to prepare for the new year
It’s that time of year again – when you reflect on the past 12 months and start thinking about the year ahead. What do you want to do? Will you stay with your current employer? Maybe look at new possibilities and find your next role?
Hiring tends to slow down the last couple months of the year with all the holidays, vacations, and tradeshows – and many companies are closing out the current year of business to get ready for the new one to come. This is an excellent time to reflect on what you have accomplished, what you’ve learned, and to start thinking about what new tools and areas of development you’d like to pursue in the coming year.
Here are three exercises that will set you up for success and get you ready to take on the new year’s endeavors. This all starts with gathering your thoughts into one place like OneNote, Google docs, or even a journal.
1. Make a list of your accomplishments
A tried-and-true best practice is to list out everything you’ve achieved over the past few years. What accolades, awards, promotions, and recognitions from your team did you receive? Reflect on these gold star moments – even if it’s hard. You may be well-versed in giving others praise, but push yourself out of your comfort zone and give yourself kudos as well. Self-advocacy is a good thing! You’ve got this!
2. Focus on growth opportunities
After you’ve listed your gold star moments, reflect on what you’ve learned this past year. Did you add any new tools to your toolbelt? Next, ask yourself what areas you would like to develop. Are there any gaps? What new challenges could you take on? Now is a great time to list and celebrate what you’ve learned, and to think about what you need to be successful in the coming year. Is it an online course? Maybe another degree? Are there any new or additional responsibilities available to you? Decide which challenges you’d like to take on and when would be the best timing. Plan it out—make yourself a calendar and try not to do everything at once. Adding to your skillset is empowering and poises you for new challenges.
3. Set goals for the new year
Don’t get too crazy here. Keep things simple and set yourself up for success with SMART goals: create a list of no more than five Specific, Realistic, Measurable, Achievable and Timebound activities. There’s nothing wrong with big, blue-sky ideas and dreams, but identifying goals you can actually achieve this year will create momentum. Write them down—that way you’re accountable. If your current job does not challenge you, or enable your development, use goal setting to start planning the steps you need to get yourself to a more fulfilling place. This may include taking a class to learn a new skill, seeking out a mentor in your current company, networking with 10 new people, or sending your resume to five places you would love to work at.
Now is the time to think about and plan for the coming year. By listing out your accomplishments and areas of growth opportunities, and setting goals you know you can reach, you will kick off the new year in a positive and productive way! For more thoughts on career development, visit us here.