New Year Career Resolutions Worth Keeping in 2022

new year career resolutions

Every January, it’s not at all uncommon to hear talk of making resolutions for the year ahead. Often, the focus is on things like improving your health or reading a certain number of books, and while these are undoubtedly worthy resolutions, so are career goals, but they rarely get the attention they deserve.

The whole point of any New Year’s resolution is to better yourself or your life somehow, and if there’s anything worth improving, it's your professional life. Even if you’re in a job you love and are perfectly happy, there are still plenty of small things you can do throughout the year to make your good situation even better. And, while your career is not your whole life, it is a significant part of it, so why wouldn’t you want to put in the effort to improve it? 

As with any resolution, though, you have to go into it with a determined, positive attitude—and you have to keep with it throughout the year. We all know how easy it is to lose steam on a resolution and give up on the effort before June even rolls around, but you know that the only way to grow in your career is to work for it, so giving up isn’t an option. 

Why Make New Year Career Resolutions?

Truthfully, a New Year’s career resolution is simply a career goal in different packaging. It’s good practice to look back on the last year of your career to see how far you’ve come and started thinking about what you want to accomplish in the year ahead. It doesn’t matter when you choose to do this, whether it’s at the start of January or around the time of your annual review. Still, there’s something special about the fresh start and promise of a new year that may help you feel a little more motivated and optimistic about the coming months. 

So, how do you go about making a career resolution? 

First, think about where you want your career to go. Maybe you don’t have a single goal you’re aiming towards, but several small plans to collectively help you feel more accomplished professionally. Depending on your situation, this may be something as simple as getting a raise or a more flexible schedule, or it could be more complex, like making a career pivot or starting your own business.

Next, ask yourself if you can realistically achieve this goal (or goals) over one year. For example, getting a big promotion after you’ve been in your current position for a couple of years could be much more likely than making a career jump after only a few months in your current job. If your career goal isn’t something that you can realistically accomplish by the time December rolls around, then that’s okay. Significant changes take time. While you may feel a bit overwhelmed (or even discouraged), know that you have a full year of work ahead of you without the promise of meeting a major milestone. Perhaps try to put your focus on the fact that this work has to be done one way or another, and come December, you’ll be a lot closer to your goal than you are now. In the meantime, come up with some smaller goals that will give you something to celebrate throughout the year and help you stay motivated. 

Finally, consider what you need to do to achieve your goal(s). Write down the small steps you’ll have to take along the way, such as earning certificates for a career pivot or putting a certain amount of money aside to start your own business. Depending on your situation, you can either look at these steps as small resolutions or keep your eyes set on your big goal. Either way, this will allow you to have a resolution and a road map for what you need to do to accomplish it (which means you’ll be much more likely to stick to it). 

Goals To Consider

Not everyone has their ideal career plan mapped out in their heads, and sometimes you may know that you want to grow in your career, but you don’t exactly know what it could be. Or, perhaps you know what your big goal is, but you aren’t entirely sure what you need to do to get there, and the thought of it makes you feel overwhelmed. Or, maybe you’re feeling stuck professionally but have no idea what to do to get out of your situation. No matter the reason, if you are coming up empty on resolutions for the year, here are some goals to consider:

Did any of these goals inspire you? Did anything pop out at you? This is just a tiny sampling of the many different resolutions you can make for 2022, but it’s an excellent place to start. Whatever goal you decide to go with, make sure it’s realistic and brings you closer to where you want to be professionally by year-end. 

Looking Ahead 

Every January brings opportunities for the coming year, and resolutions make opportunities a reality. A suitable resolution will give you a sense of hope that you can hold on to when things aren’t going your way or when you’re feeling stuck, and it might even give you a slight feeling of control over the year ahead. Whatever career resolution you choose this year, whether it’s big or small, be sure to stick with it because professional growth happens over time, and it requires determination and dedication. 

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