What are your goals for the coming year? Maybe you’re hoping to get a promotion or a new job — or make more money at the job you have. Perhaps you’ve set your sights on learning some new skills or improving your work-life balance.
No matter what you want for your career this year, you’re probably aware that achieving your dreams will require some effort on your part. The good news is that not everything you do to accomplish your goals needs to be a huge move. Sometimes, a few small changes are all you need to get headed in the right direction.
1. Pause Before Dismissing Feedback
No one likes to feel criticized, even if the criticism is constructive and well-intentioned. You don’t need to learn to love feedback in the coming year … just practice taking a beat before dismissing it altogether.
That doesn’t mean that every opinion is right. But you won’t be able to tell unless you at least stop to consider it before moving on.
Plus, there’s value even in feedback that’s off-base. For example, one of your team members might tell you that it seems like you’re unenthused about the work, when nothing could be farther from the truth. But if you stop to hear what they’re saying, you might learn something about the need to convey your enthusiasm so that others know you’re on board.
Then again, you might also just learn that you have a cranky team member — but that’s also valuable information.
2. Say Yes More
Trying new things and having new experiences help you grow. If you tend to shut down adventures before they even get started, trying saying yes more this year. You might be surprised at what you discover.
3. Remember That “No” Is a Complete Sentence
On the other hand, it’s also OK to say no, especially to time commitments that get in the way of your goals. Being a team player doesn’t mean ignoring what you want in favor of what others need.
When you need to draw a boundary, do so with confidence that you’re doing the right thing — and don’t fall into the trap of overexplaining. You’ll seem less certain about your decision and you won’t persuade anyone anyway. Plus, you’ll get back those few minutes you would have spent explaining why you get to make decisions about your own time.
4. Take Social Media Apps Off Your Phone
Social media can help you build your network, connect with a community and offer a welcome distraction when you need a break from a busy day. But it can also eat up all your time, embroil you in pointless arguments with strangers and distract you from your goals.
Want to spend less time on social media? One easy way to do it is to uninstall social media apps on your phone. It takes less than a minute and it could save you hours a day.
5. Learn One Thing Because You’re Passionate About the Topic
When we talk about learning in the context of career development, it’s usually about acquiring skills that will boost your salary requirements the next time you’re up for a job or a promotion. But that’s not the only reason to learn something new.
If you’re planning to take a class in the coming year, consider learning something just because you’d love to know more about it. You might find a whole new career path. Even if you don’t, it’s worth it to cultivate curiosity and a love of learning for its own sake. You’ll be happier at work and in your life outside the office.
Tell Us What You Think
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions about your career? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.