With a new year on the horizon, it's a good idea to set a few resolutions specific to your professional life. While you'll likely still want to set some new year's resolutions focused on your personal life, it only makes sense to also choose some business focused goals and changes that can have a positive impact on your work life.
Build Your Business Network
Who you know has a lot to do with business success. Expanding your professional network is a great business-focused new year's resolution that can benefit you now and well into the future.
- Join a professional association specific to your industry or occupation. Don't just put your name on the group's roster, but actually get involved. Put the group's regular meetings on your calendar and get even more involved by joining a committee.
- Boost your professional online presence through appropriate social networking. Update your LinkedIn profile so it's current and thorough, then commit to spending an hour per week building and engaging with your professional network online.
- Building your network doesn't have to involve getting to know people outside of your company. Make a point of getting to know coworkers other than people in your usual circle. A great way to do this is to join or volunteer to lead on a cross-departmental committee.
Boost Your Business Expertise
The more you know about your business and industry, the better positioned you'll be for long term success. Resolution ideas focusing on boosting your business expertise include:
- Commit to reading a new business or motivational book every month. In just a year, you'll have expanded your horizons with the content in 12 books.
- Identify a few leading industry or occupation-specific conferences or trade shows to attend. Participating in these types of events will help you learn about new developments relevant to the business (or career) you are in.
- Earn an industry-standard certification specific to your field that conveys your level of expertise. Examples include PHR/SPHR or SHRM-CP/SCP for human resource management professionals and the PMP certification for project managers. Review this list of recognized certifications to get an idea of what credentials might be best for you.
Improve Key Skills
Consider your business goals and identify at least one new skill that will benefit you at work. Commit to taking steps to mastering new skills that will help you make progress toward accomplishing your goals.
- Considering taking a class that will help you become more efficient in your job. For example, take a class that will help you become more proficient with a software program that you use regularly at work.
- If one of your career goals is to get promoted into a higher level role, take training classes that will help prepare you to step up to the next level. For example, you may want to enroll in management or leadership training workshops.
- Learning new skills doesn't have to involve taking a class. Consider asking your boss for opportunities to cross-train in another area. This is a great way to become proficient in performing additional jobs within your department or company.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Work
There are plenty of opportunities to go green in most workplaces. Consider what business-focused new year's resolutions might help you reduce the environmental impact in your workplace.
- Look for ways to reduce the use of paper in the work environment and implement digital best practices where it's possible to do so. For example, if you handle employee training in your company, start keeping electronic rosters rather than paper sign-in sheets. If you're in charge of the employee newsletter, transition to an electronic version rather than print.
- Spearhead a companywide initiative to increase recycling throughout the workplace. For example, see if you can get approval to place recycling receptacles next to trash cans throughout company facilities. Consider collecting recyclable items like printer cartridges, paper, glass, plastic, and more.
- Stop leaving electronics in standby mode when you leave the worksite for the day. Instead of putting your computer to sleep before you quit working for the day, shut it down and turn off all peripheral devices such as your monitor and printer. Don't leave cell phone chargers plugged in when not in use.
Boost Your Workday Activity
With people spending so much time at work, it's a good idea to incorporate goals related to fitness into your business-focused new year's resolutions. A few options to consider:
- When scheduling meetings, ask the people you need to meet with if they'd be open to holding a walking meeting rather than meeting in a conference room.
- Find a coworker who is also interested in boosting activity throughout the workday to be your fitness buddy. Go to the gym or take a walk together before or after work or at lunchtime three to five days per week.
- Look for additional ways to be active while performing your job duties. For example, you may want to replace your traditional desk with a standing desk. Or, if you prefer to sit, consider sitting on an exercise ball for part the day. Even consider getting an under-the-desk pedal exerciser so you can mimic bicycling while sitting in your regular desk chair.
Trim Work-Related Expenses
Saving money is a popular new year's resolution. Most people can find ways to cut corners in their personal lives, but it's also important to stop and consider if there are any ways to cut your business-related spending.
- Do you spend a lot of money eating out because of the demands your job places on your time? You can save a lot of money by packing healthy lunches for work instead of eating out every day. Mastering a few good slow cooker recipes can help reduce the need to pick up takeout on the way home from work.
- Consider the costs associated with your business wardrobe and look for ways to save. For example, consider purchasing professional attire from consignment shops, as well as using such stores to sell business clothes that you no longer wear. Or, if you spend a lot of money on dry cleaning, start making a point of purchasing workwear that can be washed at home to phase out this expense.
- Is parking or public transportation a significant business expense in your budget? Look for ways to cut these line items. Options may include carpooling with coworkers or finding a more affordable parking spot that's a bit farther away from your office. (Tip: Parking further away to save money will also help you accomplish the goal of becoming more active during the workday!)
Find Balance With Business and Life
Everyone needs to earn a living and being successful in business can be very rewarding, both personally and financially. However, it's important to maintain proper work life balance.
- Plan ahead now to take off some time during the upcoming year. Put in your request for vacation time now, and then schedule a relaxing getaway (either alone or with loved ones) for some much-needed downtime.
- Establish boundaries between your business life and your professional life. Look for ways to work in pockets of time that are just for you (or your friends and/or family) during which you don't focus on business-related activities.
- Look for opportunities to enjoy work -life integration. For example, if one of your resolutions involves attending an industry conference, take a few days off before or after so you can spend some tourist time in the city where the event will be held.
Build Better Workplace Relationships
Positive workplace relationships are critical to job satisfaction and employee engagement. When you're considering what to focus on at work in the new year, it's definitely a good idea to consider how you may be able to strengthen relationships with coworkers.
- Expressing appreciation is a great way to build better relationships with your coworkers. Commit to regularly letting your coworkers know that you appreciate them on a regular basis. It's as simple as saying thank you (in person or in writing) for the things they do that are helpful to you, the team, or the overall organization.
- Make a point of welcoming newcomers into the organization. Volunteer to serve as a new-hire buddy for new team members if your company has a formal program. If not, just make a point of welcoming each newcomer and offering to help with any questions they may have as they learn to navigate the organization.
- Offer to mentor someone who is at an earlier career stage than you. The early-career coworkers that you establish strong relationships now will appreciate and remember your assistance as the become established in thier own careers. They're likely to become long-term contacts and champions for your success.
Commit to Positive Change in the New Year
Of course, you don't need to tackle all the business resolutions on this list. These are just a few ideas to get you started thinking about what you might want to commit to changing in the new year related to your professional life. Start by clearly defining your professional goals, and then choose resolutions that will help you make progress toward major milestones you need to reach in order to reach those goals. It's better to make a few impactful resolutions you won't want to break rather than attempting too many changes at one time.