, Inspiration, Professional Development

How to Create Resolutions You Can Actually Accomplish

woman reading book on a couch in front of a window

Remember this time last year when you said you’d land that big title promotion, lay claim to that corner office, or get that bump in pay before the end of 2018? But then another year passed and you were in the same role, at the same desk, making nearly the same pay, and still dreaming of those #careergoals?

It happens.

We make promises to ourselves and set New Year’s resolutions that seem do-able on the surface, but after close examination are revealed to be more aspirational or out of our control.

The key to turning a resolution from an empty promise into an actionable goal is to create, from the get-go, resolutions that are based on what you can control, and not on circumstance or happenstance. For instance, you can break your back trying to get that promotion or increase your paycheck, but that goal still relies on buy-in from your boss, and your boss’s boss, and is dependent on the financial state and trajectory of your company. In other words: It’s out of your hands.

This year, set some professional resolutions you can actually see through to fruition. We’ve got five ideas to get you on your way to next-level career-ing in 2019.

Expand your IRL professional network

Let 2019 be the year you find your professional tribe – that group of people you click with, whose jokes you actually get, and whose presence makes you feel like you’re BFFs even though you just met and you’re hanging out at a – gasp – networking event. Those people are out there, and they’re not that difficult to find if you know where to look.

If you’re in marketing, try the American Marketing Association, Oklahoma City chapter. If you like a good pep talk every now and again, try CreativeMornings OKC, a free breakfast lecture series where you can mingle with creatives throughout the city. And if you want to do good, look into something like the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Oklahoma City or the L.O.Y.A.L program to work with others on a project that will ultimately better your community. It looks like that last one’s the way to go, because according to scientific research, working together on tasks that require one another’s contributions might be the best way to forge long-lasting professional friendships.

Making connections in your industry can open up new business opportunities, earn more referrals, and provide a sense of community outside of your 9-to-5. So, do some online digging, try a few groups on for size, and you’ll find your people in no time.

Get healthier during your workday

three people drinking coffee and sitting around a table with notebooks and pencils on top of it

Hey, we don’t all get standing desks (there’s that “out of your control” thing again). But there’s so much you can do to maintain good health during the workday. Schedule a daily walk around the block with your coworkers – or go it alone – and watch those steps rack up on your smart watch. Become more mindful and create some in-office competition by getting your coworkers to use the Forest app with you (set a timer to stay off your phone for several minutes, and plant a real-life tree with the help of Trees for the Future while you focus on your work). Suck it up and call your health insurance company to enroll in that dirt-cheap fitness program so you can use the gym near your office before, during, or after work. Maybe you’re on the “drink more water” train but believe water is better suited for bathing and washing cars; in that case, buy a fruit-infused water bottle to jazz up your H20. Whatever your M.O., there’s likely an app or gadget to make getting fit a little more fun – and efficient.

Grow and polish your digital presence

In Lindsey Pollak’s book, “Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders,” (which we included in our “10 Books to Read for Success in 2019”), Pollak recommends all professionals polish their internet image. Along with that is assembling an A+ LinkedIn profile and using what she describes as an “essential online branding outlet” to “build your professional reputation as a thought leader” … That’s Twitter. Pollak spotlights lots of Twitter tips, including:

If you’re in the process of building an online leadership reputation, I would recommend tweeting at least once every weekday and working yourself up to about three tweets per day. The frequency of your tweets is really up to you, but consistency is most important. For instance, you don’t want to tweet 15 times in one day and then stay silent for two weeks.

Tweet news articles relevant to your industry, but don’t forget to be a real human being too. Include humorous insights, the occasional random link, and a few personal posts that show off your hobbies and interests. Work on that throughout the year and by the end of 2019, you’ll see growth not only in your number of followers, but an increased amount of trust in you and your brand.

Find your work squad

person sitting on the floor beside an exercise weight and gym bag with a towel and water bottle inside
Woman with bag and fitness equipment

In Nicole Lapin’s book, “Boss Bitch,” the former CNN and CNBC anchor encourages professionals to find their work squad, or “(cultivate) advocates and mentors so that your vibe attracts a tribe that will propel your career forward.” Rhyming aside, she’s onto something here. Lapin acknowledges that you don’t need to be friends with everyone at work, but you should identify those who can be more than a happy hour buddy. Lapin includes five tips for “friending your way to the top,” but we especially liked this one:

Get committed. Find something at work that you’re passionate about, whether it’s fundraising for your company’s running team, planning the annual all-staff spelling bee, or sitting on the advisory group for onboarding new interns. Participating in – or better yet, organizing – some extracurriculars at work will help you build relationships with a wider range of people outside your own department who have shared interests (remember, shared interests = deeper connections).

We’ve seen coworkers get to know one another through slack’s #coffee-and-donuts channel (suggested by an OKC remote worker in our “How to Stay Balanced When You Can Work From Anywhere” blog post) and monthly book discussions that help coworkers rally around similar interests.

Take a deep dive into a different facet of your company

We’ve covered how it’s beneficial to get to know your coworkers, but how much do you know about what they do every day? Show your bosses and coworkers you’re not only interested in your team or department, but the company as a whole, and set up shadowing sessions – or whole workdays if you can swing it – with your coworkers who have different skills and roles than you. You can even tap your human resources department for help making introductions and figuring out a shadowing schedule. You could also host a monthly lunch-and-learn series at your office and encourage one coworker from another department to lead it each month, meaning that person picks a topic related to their role and either leads a session, or curates a YouTube playlist of relevant presentations or a related TED Talk.

Now you’ve got five resolutions you can see through to the end. What others will you add to your 2019 resolutions list? Join the conversation on Facebook and get some ideas from others!