Are you a resolution-setter? When the clock ticks down on New Year’s Eve, have you resolved to tackle a list of self-improvement tasks or complete a series of goals in the coming months? Whether or not you are committed to ringing in 2021 with a goal-orientated to-do list ready to go, consider setting some of the following goals for yourself. They don’t need to be official New Year missives, but they will go a long way in helping navigate your way to the life you love as you grow professionally and personally.
Learn a new skill or 2…or 12
It doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or a seasoned veteran, there’s always something new you can learn about your field. Don’t just think big; think small, too. Don’t just think about today’s job; think about the job you want tomorrow. Don’t just think work; think life, too. Are spreadsheets a regular part of your work day? Polish your skills and become an Excel power user. Take a class in taekwondo for fun and fitness (this has been a favorite of my family’s). Stretch your limits with a class in a skill outside your usual bailiwick.
Meet New People
Sure, the pandemic has put a damper on in-person professional networking experiences, but it hasn’t squashed the networking power of online platforms. Make a resolution to up your game on LinkedIn and other online networks for professionals. Post regularly. Share content that offers value and share insights that showcase your expertise. Join groups. Extend invites. Engage with the things others post. Take a close look at your profile and update it accordingly.
It’s really easy to put all your eggs in one basket. Leaders – whether you’re spearheading the efforts to get your own company off the ground or you’ve got a management position at an established firm – tend to invest a lot of their time and energy on the business. Yes, your business needs your attention, but so do you and so does your family. This year, make a resolution to work on your work-life balance. That doesn’t mean there needs to be a 50-50 split. At different seasons of your life, different things will need more or less attention than others. It does mean to make sure you’re making space in your schedule to give each facet of your life the time and attention it needs and that you’re being a “whole you” not just the work part of you.
It’s easy to get bogged down in our own assumptions. “I’m too busy. I don’t have the skills to pull that off. I know all I need about marketing.” This year, make a plan to get real about your strengths, your weaknesses, and your time. Identify what you’re really good at and make a plan to capitalize on it. Be honest about the areas you’re not as strong in and make a plan on how you can improve, or frankly, compensate for that weakness. You’re not going to be stellar at everything and that’s okay. You can, however, make a plan to delegate those tasks to others or get support in some other way.
You don’t need to jump aboard a social media-inspired “Book a Week” challenge for 2021, but you should resolve to read more. Read books related to your career. Read books related to your hobbies and interests. Read pure fiction. Just read. Open your mind to new places and new thoughts. Trust me, it’s going to benefit you in more ways than you realize.
You can make all the resolutions and set all the goals you want, and sometimes life throws you a curveball. Undoubtedly, there are a lot of undeveloped goals set a year ago that got plowed over by a pandemic. While your 2021 targets may survive without such challenges, there may still be stumbles and roadblocks along the way that require you to change course. Resolve to show yourself a little grace and understanding.
Yes, you want to be committed to your goals and work to achieve them, but you must also be flexible and realistic. Sometimes the things that we think are reasonably attainable turn out to require a bigger stretch than we realized. Be prepared to adjust your course and modify your expectations. Be kind to yourself.