The final month of the year is upon us, and it's time to start thinking about the resolutions you'll make (and ideally keep) in the coming year.
Of course, there are those standard resolutions -- think losing weight or quitting smoking, for example -- that have been around for ages. And, they're great ones. Making resolutions is all about improving yourself, after all.
However, resolutions can extend past your health, your habits, and your personal life and into your career and your professional mindset.
So, if you're aiming to step up your professional game this coming year, here are five resolutions you should plan to make and maintain.
1. Achieve Better Work/Life Balance
This is likely something you intend to fix year after year. You promise that you'll make more time for relaxation and family. But, three weeks in, you can no longer resist the lure of your inbox and you're right back to your old, work-obsessed habits.
Here's a brutal dose of reality for you: You're never going to get more hours in the day. That means there's never going to be the perfect time to step away from the computer, put down the phone, and live your life. You just need to make the choice to do it -- and do it now.
So, in the coming year, commit to finally making your work/life balance more of a priority. There's no time like the present.
2. Remove One Negative
We all have at least one professional commitment that forces us to let out an exasperated sigh each time we're forced to deal with it again.
Maybe it's that professional association that you're a member of -- even though you dread attending any of the functions. Or, perhaps it's that overwhelming project that keeps hanging over your head.
Whatever it is, vow to get it out of the way. That's right -- cancel your membership with that association or finally conquer that dreaded project.
Do what you need to do to clear those sigh-worthy things off your plate, and you'll be able to start the new year with a fresh perspective.
3. Pursue One Passion
Similarly to how we have a tough time ever making time for rest and relaxation, we also struggle with leaving enough time to pursue our passions. We cram our schedules so full with meetings and deadlines, there aren't any spare hours left in the day for the things we enjoy.
Promise yourself that you'll change this in the coming year. Sign up for that photography class you've been meaning to take or join that book club to ensure you make time for the reading you so enjoy.
Remember, happiness and fulfillment outside the office is crucial to feeling also satisfied in your career. So, leave adequate time for your passions, hobbies, and interests, and you'll not only survive the new year -- you'll enjoy it.
4. Offer Help
Oftentimes, resolutions are very self-centered -- they're all about what we can do for ourselves. But, helping somebody else out can also be a great reward and an effective way to improve your own life.
In the new year, commit to helping when people need it. Whether that means lending that swamped colleague a hand with some of her work or stepping up and doing that task that nobody else in the office wants to do, vow to make your life better by enriching the lives of the people around you.
It's an incredibly fulfilling experience. Plus, it just makes you a good person.
5. Reserve "Clean Up Time"
We all know how quickly things can spiral out of control. Your freshly cleaned and tidy desk immediately transforms into a disaster area. Or, your newly attained "inbox zero" soon becomes "inbox 953" all over again.
This year, promise that you'll do your best to nip these things in the bud by blocking off some "clean up time" -- even if it's just 15 minutes -- at the end of each workday.
During that time, you can neaten up your desk, wrap up any loose ends, and prepare your to-do list for the next day. It involves very little commitment on your end, but is sure to help you start each and every day feeling put together and on top of things -- rather than stressed and frazzled.
Your resolutions don't just have to benefit you personally. In fact, there are plenty you can make that are sure to improve your professional life.
Commit to one (or all!) of these five resolutions, and you're sure to start the next year of your career on the right foot.